AN explosive war of words has broken out between two-time All-Ireland winning manager, Ger Loughnane and Clare GAA County Board chairman, Michael McDonagh.
Mr Loughnane has told The Clare Champion that he believes Mr McDonagh’s position as board chairman is “utterly untenable”, while he has also insisted that the Miltown Malbay clubman, who is serving his second term as chairman, is using his GAA role to aid his campaign to seek a Fianna Fáil nomination at this Friday night’s convention in Ennis.
Mr McDonagh has denied this suggestion and claims the former Clare manager is setting out to derail his political ambitions.
“Comments I have made in my remit as chairman of the county board, during the past fortnight and throughout my tenure, have always been made in the best interests of Clare GAA and in my capacity as chairman only. The suggestion that any comments I have made are self-serving or politically motivated are wrong and appear to me to be intentionally misleading and intended to damage my candidacy in Friday’s Fianna Fáil selection convention,” Mr McDonagh said on Wednesday.
“In politics, as in life, it is nearly as important to have the right people against you, as to have the right people backing you,” he commented.
In a Clare Champion interview this week, which followed a suggestion last week from Brian Lohan that Mr Loughnane head up a review committee to examine the performance of the Clare senior hurling team, the All-Ireland winning manager said he would only consider the role if guarantees were offered that any recommendations would be acted upon.
However, he maintained that Michael McDonagh’s recent performance as county board chairman was not good enough.
“I think the chairman’s position, by his actions, is completely and utterly untenable. If we want to have a future, we need to look at the whole set up and that includes officers in the county board. Have we the right officers to pursue the right agenda for the future?” Mr Loughnane asked.
“His [Michael McDonagh] interest is short-term and his interest is not on the future of Clare hurling. His interest is in his own popularity. He is pursuing a political career and all of his utterances and actions are aiming to improve his status in that area. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the future of Clare hurling. It’s just a PR exercise that is so badly carried out that it’s an insult to people’s intelligence that he thinks he is getting away with it,” Mr Loughnane fumed.
By Peter O’Connell