There's Still No Sign of Accord in Treaty Battle; Tight-Lipped Limerick Exiles Content to Sacrif Ice League If It Helps Turn Opinion against McCarthy

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), January 10, 2010 | Go to article overview

There's Still No Sign of Accord in Treaty Battle; Tight-Lipped Limerick Exiles Content to Sacrif Ice League If It Helps Turn Opinion against McCarthy


Byline: John Fogarty

IT'S BEEN 10 weeks since a member of the largely disaffected Limerick 2009 senior hurling panel spoke to the media. Captain Damien Reale's public comments almost three months ago have not been added to by one of last year's Treaty players.

Just like the other 11 who voluntarily withdrew from his 2010 panel last October in protest at the way in which the Cork man axed 10 of their teammates, Reale had numerous issues with manager Justin McCarthy.

So why the silence? If this was Cork, it would be action stations. Press releases would be drafted and briefings organised.

While the communication channels have been kept open with Cork and the GPA, they are acutely aware of where they stand in the opinion of the Limerick public. There'll be no mass marches for them.

They may be the best hurlers in the county, but their stock is rock bottom following their scalping by Tipperary in last year's All-Ireland semi-final. Openly slinging mud at McCarthy would only be to their detriment (it's not as if he has been publicly lambasting them either).

Besides, and most importantly, they don't share Cork's all-for-one and onefor-all bond. They don't pretend to either. 'We're not a united panel,' said one of the disaffected players.

'It's not a case of blaming the (six) young lads who have decided to stay on with Justin. They have a chance to play for Limerick and they want to take it while they can. They don't know if they'd make another panel. That's completely understandable.' So the consensus among the dozen disaffected and 10 discarded players has been to adopt a wait-and-see approach. They continue to train individually, anticipating that McCarthy's reign will eventually runs its course.

They don't expect it to end at next Tuesday's county board meeting, even if there are rumours of the tabling of a no-confidence motion in the board executive who have virtually kept him in charge.

Their hope is that when the National League is up-and-running and the results go against McCarthy's new team, Limerick supporters' indifference will be shattered and the backlash against him will begin.

LIKE NIGHT follows day, it will come. Gerald McCarthy discovered that to his cost in Cork last year and although the exiled Limerick players haven't been as vocal in their grievances about his namesake as the Rebels were about Gerald, they are strongly felt.

'Justin is a fine coach,' says one of them, 'a man who lives and breathes hurling but he has the worst communication skills. You never knew where you stood with him. I don't think he was in tune with what the modern game is about.

'When you're a player you're hopeful.

You give it socks, keep your head down. Even if there are some things you might disagree with, you're optimistic that everything will work out and the end will justify the means.

'That's the faith you put in a new manager. We expected the intensity to rise in training after the league but it never came. There was no plan and when some of the senior players saw that they told Justin. …

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