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All parties to meet in hurling dispute

A RESOLUTON to the current stand-off between players and management in Clare hurling looked more hopeful this week when team captain Brian O’Connell told The Clare Champion that the players “have no problem in meeting with management and the county board”.
The Wolfe Tones man was responding to the decision reached at the Clare County Board meeting this week, where delegates unanimously voiced their support for manager Mike McNamara, whom the players had voted no confidence in, a decision they communicated in writing to Tuesday’s meeting.
“There is no breakdown in communication and we are working to resolve the situation,” according to O’Connell, confirming that the players will attend a meeting, which board chairman Michael O’Neill is due to call in the coming days.
Following the meeting, the chairman expressed confidence that the matter will be resolved. “If I didn’t feel that there is a chance, I wouldn’t have undertaken it tonight. There is a strong chance of putting Clare hurling back where it rightly belongs,” he stated.
The decision to bring all parties to the meeting room was arrived at during a debate, which was held in camera on Tuesday. The meeting was informed that there was just one item of correspondance, a letter from the players, which gave the result of a vote of no-confidence in the manager as 26 to 1 against. County board secretary Pat Fitzgerald confirmed that, this time, the letter was signed by all 27 players. A letter from the players had been submitted before the previous board meeting but it wasn’t signed.
About an hour into this week’s meeting, chairman Michael O’Neill informed the delegates that the manager was “prepared to come in here and address this meeting if media representatives withdraw”.
Objections were made to this course of action but agreement was reached when the chairman informed the media that he and McNamara would meet with them after his meeting with the delegates.
The manager was accompanied at the board meeting by selectors Alan Cunningham and Ollie Baker. It is understood that he referred to “breaches of discipline” by some players during the year when he addressed those present but he did not name those involved. Some delegates said afterwards that, in his opening remarks, McNamara indicated that he would be stepping down.
However, support for the management team was clearly evident from delegates. The end result was that chairman Michael O’Neill, along with two independent mediators, is to meet with players, management and board officers to seek a solution to the problem.
Speaking to the media after the board meeting, McNamara indicated that the issue would not drag on. “If we resolve the issue, we go forward and if we don’t resolve the issue, we won’t be talking or dragging things out to next March, I can assure you,” he said.

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