IT’S official. Mike McNamara’s reign as Clare hurling manager is over. McNamara outlined his resignation in a letter to a special board meeting on Tuesday night, almost a week after The Clare Champion had revealed that he had finally stepped aside.
Board chairman Michael O’Neill admitted that McNamara’s decision was conveyed to them on Wednesday night of last week but they had delayed going public on the announcement while officers searched for a successor.
O’Neill apologised that it had taken so long to finalise the matter.
“I said after the last meeting that I hope to have it finalised in a week to 10 days. That was never going to be possible. We had to give this the time it deserved and needed.” he revealed.
“We decided here on November 10 that we would give the outgoing management the opportunity to stay on in their position and that I would go away and chair meetings with the management and players and do whatever was necessary to get a solution to the problems that existed.
“Every effort was made to resolve the situation, the impasse which existed at the time. We exhausted all avenues, spoke to all the relevant parties on numerous occasions, contacted the different people whether it was by phone or meetings. I am satisfied that no stone was left unturned. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result we thought we might have here the last night,” he added.
“The lads who had taken on the management last September 12 months and who got the full backing of the board here the last night have a letter with us tonight saying that its time for them to step down. I personally could not say enough about the integrity of those three people. Words of mine could not describe the way they dealt with the situation. There was no dictatorship, no lecturing, nothing of that sort. They met the players, they listened to them, to their concerns. They offered to make concessions if necessary to change the management style. At the end of the day, it didn’t work out. We must be mindful of the players as well. It wasn’t a blame game. We, as a board, have a responsibility in this. We recognise that there were mistakes made, management recognise this and I think the players recognise this,” O’Neill admitted.
During the discussion which followed, a number of delegates paid tribute to McNamara and his team.
“This is a sad night for hurling. The tail has wagged the dog,” commented Smith O’Brien’s delegate Tony O’Brien.
Clarecastle delegates Martin Reynolds and Bernard Hanrahan, Kilmaley’s Michael Maher and Éire Óg’s Pat Daly all paid tribute to McNamara for his work with Clare teams over the years and as senior manager for the past two years.