Players are going to have to choose between club and county. That’s according to Clare senior football and league champions Kilmurry-Ibrickane whose manager Aidan Moloney issued a strong warning after his charges completed the senior double for the second year in a row when beating Miltown St.Josephs in the Clare Champion sponsored Cusack cup final at Cooraclare this afternoon
After winning their seventh successive league crown Kilmurry-Ibrickane considered not accepting the cup.
Eventually team captain Martin McMahon came forward, accepted the cup but declined to raise the trophy as is traditional having delivered one of the shortest acceptance speeches on record.
He thanked the team’s supporters for attending the game and thanked opponents Miltown and then promptly left the podium having led his club to a 0-14 to 0-11 win over their neighbours and great rivals Miltown St. Josephs.
According to team manager Aidan Moloney “the main point we would like to make is that we had a full team playing today and going forward that is the only way to play football at club level. We are getting to the stage now where players are going to have to decide between club and county. The club can’t survive without their county players and that was one of the reasons why things weren’t good after the match there today. We weren’t going to receive the cup in a protest to the way our players are being treated by the county board and the Clare football management and its something we will have to look at going forward. We thought about not accepting it. Things are going to have to change with the county board going forward or else we wont be supplying players to the county. This is where we are at. It’s vital that all players can be made available or else we will just have to take control of our own players, It can be done”.
Continuing Moloney said “there has to be less control by the county manager. He can’t ask to have players a month before a game. That’s not acceptable to us as a club and I am sure to other clubs and especially to Miltown that lost out in a game with walkovers and other stuff and other clubs got in there and took the advantage. Unless clubs stick together and fight for their own rights, they have a very poor future. We have one meaningless competition in the John Gorman cup that really is only fit for junior teams now, There are the only teams that get benefit from it. Its no good to senior teams. The Cusack cup is ready to go down the same road if we allow that but, as a club, we are not going to allow that”.
Referring back to a round of Cusack cup games where a number of clubs declined to fulfil fixtures because of the absence of county players he said “these teams took a stance and the county board ignored that stance. Between the county board and the manager they made our players unavailable to the clubs without they even knowing about it and then they brought in a 13 day rule that they didn’t stand by. That kind of stuff has got to stop or else there just won’t be players going to the county team. That’s the bottom line”.
Concluding Moloney, who was interview for the county manager’s position when the position was vacant some years ago, said “there is too much going on over in that county board that just doesn’t make sense. It’s all you scratch my back and I’ll scratch my own. That’s the way it works over there. If we allow the Cusack cup to go down the road of the Clare cup we basically don’t have any football to play. Teams are going to have to wait until next June or July to get a game. We went through that with the Gorman cup and it ended up becoming a joke because it was 13 a side and then went to 15 a side with no county players and you see competitions don’t work and there is no value whatsoever unless county players are there. If Cathal O’Connor isn’t playing with Coolmeen, their team is meaningless without him. You go to Miltown or anybody else that has county players, its the same. That’s the road of all football. We will end up with only a few championship matches a year which is meaningless”.
On the game itself he said “we are delighted with the way our team has performed all year and we finished it off well today. Conditions weren’t ideal. Miltown, in all fairness hung in there for as long as they could. Being without a few quality players, that was as much as they could muster today and that bit of quality for us stood out in the second half”.
Miltown started well and took an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead before the winners landed five unanswered points on their way to a half time lead of two, 0-8 to 0-6. After the teams exchanged early second half points, the holders landed four in a row to lead by five at the three quarter stage. To their credit Miltown battled to the end but the absence of key forward Eoin Cleary due to injury was a big blow to their hopes of a first title win since 2010
By Seamus Hayes