Can anyone, even their most ardent detractors, be enjoying the Cork hurling crisis at this stage?
Okay, it was entertaining enough to begin with, all that mud-slinging and character-assassination by numbers.
But it’s beyond any sort of joke by now. Even Oliver Callan couldn’t be crass enough to think it’s capable of being played for laughs. As Waterford Wildcats’ coach John Hayes said on Matt Keane’s ‘Terracetalk’ (WLRfm) on Monday night, “it’s sad to see such a phenomenal GAA county in turmoil.”
Of course they’ve no-one to blame but themselves, but that’s not going to resolve anything – nor, it appears, is Christy Cooney, GAA President-elect, whose ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ attitude doesn’t bode well given the potential conflicts that await an association where professional expectations are going to be more divisive than ever in the fallow times ahead.
While he continues to put a brave face on things, talking about keeping doors open and having ‘no fear’ for the honourable third-raters he’s left with, Gerald McCarthy, a decent, dignified hurling man, will privately admit to being sick of the whole scenario; a surreal situation where you have new county chairman Jerry O’Sullivan pleading via an open letter to last year’s panel, including his own sons Diarmuid and Paidi, to show goodwill and enter into meaningful talks to resolve the row before it’s too late. At the time of writing, signs are that hardline positions may be softening somewhat and that the 30 best players in the county could be recommissioned.
Gerald will know it’s after getting way out of hand, and probably regrets being dragged into the mess to the extent that he has; primarily in self-defence it must be said.
Given all that’s been said, if the manager and the strike leaders do share a dressing-room again then miracles can happen. And should sufficient pride be swallowed for the county’s sake, the fact that Frank Murphy won’t be in there as a selector anymore will hopefully help to keep the peace, at least till the next time the Rebels rise up.