CORK superstar Sean Og O hAilpin has launched a bitter attack on the county’s beleaguered hurling boss Gerald McCarthy, but McCarthy has hit back with fighting comments of his own.
O hAilpin has also hit out at the Cork County Board, claiming that the latest stand-off with the players is revenge for the original dispute between the parties in 2002 when he called for Frank Murphy to resign.
“I got my head eaten off for what I mentioned then,” said O hAilpin. “I ain’t getting into that. I got the s*** kicked out of me, my own club went against me and everything. No comment on that.
“Look, I give up at this stage. Everything we do we do in good faith; in previous disputes, we’d hope that there would be a good working relationship to move things on, but obviously they see us as trouble, they see us as trouble because we don’t go with the status quo.
“We don’t say, ‘Yes Frank, three bags full Frank.’ Since we stood up to the county board in 2002, this is payback time.”
The Na Piarsaigh man again claimed that there is a vendetta against the current Cork squad at the highest level.
“Of course there is; there’s a feeling there, get rid of Sean Og, get rid of Donal Og, get rid of Diarmuid O’Sullivan, get rid of Joe Deane and they’ll be back to the status quo. The young fellas won’t rock the boat,” added O hAilpin.
“And that’s what Cork has been about, not rocking the boat — everyone has been living this big lie, that things are fine, but they’re not.
“If you look at the state of affairs in Cork things are not too healthy. Clubs are struggling to get numbers, there are no academies in place, Páirc Uí Chaoimh is dying on its feet. If people say we have these great administrators in Cork, why is that the case?
“Obviously the players are being questioned, but the county board, the executive have a lot to answer for. If this was a limited company there would be questions posed to the head guys: ‘What is going on?’
“Good leadership should come from the top, not from the bottom up. This is the third dispute in six years.”
The all-star defender also claimed again that the senior players will not play for Cork as long as McCarthy is manager.
“Players are not going to be playing under Ger, it’s as simple as that, they are not going back,” he said.
“It’s a pity that you don’t sit in on the team meeting because the young fellows are more vocal than the older fellows. Pa Cronin, for instance, Gerald alluded to a move that Pa Cronin made in a game that Pa did not even play in.
“That’s poor from a manager, not knowing his own players. Kevin Canty and Paudie Sullivan, they started off the championship this year. Things did not go too well for them but those guys ended up at number 27 or 28.
“I know that under previous managers they would have been sat down, the manager would have went through their game, identified what went wrong, see what things they had to work on.
“I don’t know exactly what happened but they were totally out of the loop. For Gerald to say about the younger fellows, I tell you, the young fellows feel strongly that he is incapable of any further progress.”
McCarthy hit back at the comments from O hAilpin in a strong statement issued over the weekend.
“I accept that Sean Og has a very busy life,” said McCarthy. “His substantial commercial interests arising from his Cork hurling career, dealing with his agent, his membership of the GPA, his job with Ulster Bank and his on-off role with Cork, must make it difficult to find time to reflect.
“If he did find time then perhaps he wouldn’t be flip-flopping around the place and changing his mind about my abilities as a coach to suit the agenda of the day.”
Meanwhile McCarthy has asked legendary Cork dual star Teddy McCarthy to come on board as one of his selectors as he plans for next season.
As the dispute continues McCarthy will attempt to field a Cork team in a challenge game to make the anniversary of St Colman’s College this weekend.
County board chairman Mick Dolan has hit out at reports that several club players within the county have been asked not to make themselves available for the fixture by the dissenting senior stars.
“We’re led to believe that’s happening. I’m sorry to hear it, but the game goes ahead,” Dolan said. “Personally, I hate the blackguarding that’s going on as regards Gerald McCarthy.
“Gerald is a decent, honest man and has proved himself as a coach, proved himself on the field with Cork and as a gentleman and I’m 110% behind him.”
Flunked Drug Test
KERRY footballer Aidan O’Mahony has protested his innocence after he failed a drug test at a championship game this year –- and blamed it all on the asthma drug Salbutamol.
This is the first time a GAA player has failed a drug test under the Sports Council’s strict anti-doping problem, and the player will now face a hearing.
A three time All-Ireland winner, O’Mahony has claimed through his solicitor that the medicine was prescribed and used purely as an anti-asthma drug. The therapeutic use of the drug is permitted under the Irish Sports Council’s anti-doping program.
Solicitor Paul Derham, who acted for Irish rugby player Frankie Sheehan in similar circumstances in 2003, is representing O’Mahony, and revealed that his client has been an asthmatic since childhood and “has a therapeutic use exemption” from the Irish Sports Council which he first applied for four years ago and renews annually.
“The level of Salbutamol in my client’s system is consistent with the medication,” he added.
O’Mahony must now prove that the asthma drug was inhaled, that it was for therapeutic purposes and that it was not performance enhancing.
The Gaelic Players’ Association has been in contact with O’Mahony and has pledged to stand by the player at his hearing.
A leading sports medicine expert has told RTE radio that the asthma drug in question is not performance enhancing.
Dr Geraldine Barniville said, “It is one of a group of drugs and it comes in an inhaler and it is very, very commonly used with or without other inhalers.
“In my view it is not a performance enhancer but it is regarded by the World Ant Doping Agency as a performance enhancer so we have to follow their rules.”
A statement released by Croke Park on the matter read, “The GAA has confirmed that a sample recently provided by one of its players as part of the Irish Sports Council’s anti-doping program has revealed an adverse analytical finding regarding the therapeutic use of Salbutamol, which will require the player to show that the result was the consequence of the therapeutic use of inhaled Salbutamol.
“In accordance with the provisions of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules, the GAA are obliged to provisionally suspend the player involved pending the outcome of a hearing of the Anti-Doping Hearings Committee. A date for this meeting has not yet been scheduled.
“The GAA will not be making any further comment on the matter until such time as the hearings process is complete.”
NEW Kerry football boss Jack O’Connor has received the backing of Kingdom legend and former player and manager Paidi O Se.
“Jack has been shrewd in the management team he has assembled. Ger O’Keeffe is a bubbly character,” said O Se.
“He will never shirk a challenge and is a good man for Jack to have around because he’s always so full of life and energy. Eamonn Fitzmaurice is one of my own pupils, if you like.
“He is a great choice. He has been an analyst with The Kerryman in recent times, and his observations on games in that paper have shown him to be a man who has a good read of a game.”