The search for Galway’s next Senior Hurling Manager begins in earnest this week, after Anthony Cunningham’s fiery exit from the role on Monday night.
Cunningham branded a no-confidence vote in the team’s management a “kangaroo court decision” in a strongly worded statement announcing his departure. A response is expected from the Galway Senior Hurling Team in the coming days.
Mr Cunningham said, ‘I consider this a kangaroo court decision, led by a core group of players orchestrated with the help of others outside Galway, motivated by a desire to unjustly extend their lifespan as inter-county players placing personal agendas above the greater good of Galway Hurling.’
Mr Cunningham, who less than three months ago led Galway to the All Ireland Hurling Final, where they led Kilkenny at half time, said he believed that the players are ‘misguided’ in that they are not taking the views of their county on board.
‘They, through their actions, have shown scant respect for, and loyalty to the goodwill shown them by supporters, clubs and County GAA Committees and Management. I contend it is unreasonable to express a lack of confidence in management – how else could we have reached a winning position in an All-Ireland Final last September?’
The much-anticipated statement from the players is expected to provide an insight from their point of view into what has been a long and testing road for everyone involved in Galway hurling in recent weeks. In his resignation statement, Mr Cunningham said that the management team exhausted all avenues to ‘bring this impasse to a conclusion and protect Galway Hurling.’
He also pointed to the dangers that now exist that threaten the democratic and voluntary ethos of the GAA. Galway County Board thanked Mr Cunningham, who has ‘given three and a half decades of unbroken service to our county as both a player and team manager.’ ‘While Anthony and his Management Teams were in charge, every player in our county got both consideration and opportunity, culminating in nine young players, making this year’s All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final Team,’ said a statement from the County Board, signed by John Hynes, County Secretary.
Mr Cunningham, who has been manager of the team since 2012, was ratified as Galway Senior Manager by the Galway County Board for 2016. Efforts to resolve player unrest involved mediation over a number of weeks and when that broke down without resolution, the players took a vote on Sunday night. Two questions were put to the players: ‘Do you have confidence in the current management?’ and ‘Would they hurl for the current management team?’ 26 of the current panel voted no at the players’ meeting when asked ‘do you have confidence in the current management?’
Six voted yes. When asked if they would hurl for the current management team, nine said yes, with 23 of the panel saying they would not. The votes were taken in a secret ballot. Already, a list of possible candidates have emerged to succeed him. Former Galway selector, Mattie Kenny is the early frontrunner to take over as the next Galway Hurling Manager.
The latest odds from Paddy Power show Mattie Kenny the favourite at present with odds of 6/4. Others named in the running include former Clare hurler and former Dublin manager Anthony Daly (10/3), and this year’s All Ireland winning Galway Minor Manager, Jeff Lynskey (7/2).
Meanwhile, the replays of the Galway Senior and Minor Club Hurling Finals take place this Sunday 22 November in Pearse Stadium. Minor throw-in at 1pm, Senior throw-in at 2.45pm.
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