FRANK Doherty’s frustration with the attitudes which have helped to drive Clare football into the bottom half of division 4, is increasing weekly.
He confirmed last Saturday, after Clare’s facile win over London, that some players haven’t been seen since they were presented with Clare gear recently.
“There you go,” Doherty sighed. “Got the gear, got the boots, good luck. What is it about? All right, we’re in division 4. The purpose is to get out of division 4 but we need help,” he added.
The Clare manager cited an example of an U-21 county footballer who pressed red on his mobile when Doherty called.
“I asked an U-21 player this year to come into our set-up. He said yes. I rang him and asked him where he was training. The same lad was in a pub and cut the phone off. I know that for a fact,” the Galway man maintained.
Nine injuries and a handful of walk-outs meant that Clare could only tog 19 players against London.
“Lads have pulled out basically. For what reason is beyond me. Including Joe Hayes, we had 19 togged. We had nine lads out. It’s very disappointing to be honest that people aren’t putting their shoulders to the wheel. That’s a terrible situation to be in for an inter-county team,” Doherty suggested.
If Clare had everyone available and still couldn’t emerge from division 4, Frank Doherty accepts that the finger could then be pointed at him.
“You judge a management team or a manager on when you have a full hand and a full deck to play from. And we don’t have that. That’s the honest truth. It’s just beyond me why people aren’t putting themselves forward to get us out of division 4. I’ve spoken to people, that have promised me they’d come in and they’ve turned around and walked away. For what reason, I’ve no idea. I’ve tried to ring them. Players have tried to get in touch with them. It’s crazy stuff. You can question the management if they got a full deck to play with. But we’re well short of the deck at the moment,” he stated.
Doherty admits that he is on the verge of despair.
“There’s nobody stepping forward within the county. I’m disillusioned with it. I don’t know where it’s come from. Within the county we need the players that are playing for clubs to stand up and say ‘lets get Clare out of division 4.’ Give the management team a chance to get out of division 4.
“If we don’t succeed, I’ll put my hand up and say ‘maybe the management have it wrong, maybe the management aren’t up to it.’ But we can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. That’s the long and short of it. The ammunition isn’t there. The lads will try. They’ll give it their all. But in a Munster semi – final, I want to be able to turn around, look to a bench and see ten options sitting there,” he said.
A deeper panel, Doherty feels, could have brought points home from Cooraclare, Aughrim and Carrick on Shannon.
“We lost to Sligo by a point, we lost by three to Wicklow and three to Leitrim in a game we should have won.
“If we’d options on the bench and if you’d your full deck to play, then you’d have a shout. And you could say, the management aren’t up to it, so be it. But it’s not the case. Actually it’s the other side of the coin completely. The commitment is mighty (from players) but it’s the same bunch of fellas,” he finished.