NO COUNTIES FOR OLD MEN; Conflict between Old Methods and New Values Now Reaching a Climaxas GAA Entersits 126th Year

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), November 8, 2009 | Go to article overview

NO COUNTIES FOR OLD MEN; Conflict between Old Methods and New Values Now Reaching a Climaxas GAA Entersits 126th Year


Byline: Philip Lanigan

'Every coach knows that when they have lost the dressing room or training ground there is no point. Anyone who has walked away will tell you that. When you know you have lost the players, when you know you haven't got them in the dressing room and you know you haven't got them on the training ground, it's only fair to the players. They have more or less told you without writing it out for you that this isn't going any further.'

Justin McCarthy would do well to heed the above lines because they could yet provide an unwelcome epitaph to his time as Limerick senior hurling manager. unlimited Heartbreak - the inside story of Limerick, is far from an airbrushed snapshot of the county's hurling history.

instead, author Henry Martin provides a warts-and-all catalogue of the good times and the bad. there is no getting away from the level of upheaval that is bound up in a 36-year stretch without the Liam McCarthy Cup.

And those words have a resonance close to home. they come from the mouth of Ger Cunningham, the Limerick native who was part of the Joe McKenna-led management team that resigned en bloc mid-season in 2006 after the debacle of a 2-21 to 0-10 Allireland qualifier hammering by Clare in Ennis.

Despite his success in coaching newtownshandrum to All-ireland club honours and at colleges level with university of Limerick, he admits frankly: 'i was out of my depth coaching an inter-county team'.

if the turmoil and strike warnings in Limerick and Clare over the past fortnight have shown anything though, it's that storied reputations also count for nothing in the modern game where player expectations are concerned.

Justin McCarthy turns 65 next year with a lifetime immersed in the game. so too Gerald McCarthy.

Mike Mcnamara hit the 60 mark in March. But the modern hurling world makes no allowances for age. A long-standing career as a player or manager offers no more protection than the rookie who supposedly doesn't square up.

To the hurlers of Limerick, Clare and Cork, no Country For Old Men is probably more familiar as a Cormac McCarthy novel and movie adaptation than a line from a Yeats poem but, given the ongoing confrontations, the Munster Council could borrow it and use it on a billboard campaign ahead of next sumwrong mer's Munster championship.

THREE Munster titles, including a first since 1963, and a first national League since the same year, were not enough to save McCarthy from a player coup in Waterford mid-season in 2008. His manmanagement skills have again been questioned with his decision not to include a dozen stalwarts in a text message for a recent meeting and trial game, the sins of omission ranging from stephen Lucey to niall Moran.

Moran's brother Ollie is a player who carries real standing in Limerick, notwithstanding his recent retirement, and his description of the manner of the cull as 'shameless' cut to the bone.

The confirmation, too, that Damien Reale had quit the panel on a point of principle does not augur well for McCarthy's future. the former captain delivered a stinging rebuke of the manager's none-too-subtle attempt to reconstitute the panel after the crushing 24-point defeat by tipperary in August's All-ireland semi-final in Croke Park: 'i've led these fellas around the field, captained them,' said Reale,'and i'm proud to have done that. …

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NO COUNTIES FOR OLD MEN; Conflict between Old Methods and New Values Now Reaching a Climaxas GAA Entersits 126th Year
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