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Holland issues statement
16/02/2008 - 11:53:49 AM Teddy Holland (pictured) has broken his silence on the ongoing dispute between Cork GAA players and the County Board over his appointment as Cork Senior football manager.

Teddy Holland has broken his silence on the ongoing dispute between Cork GAA players and the County Board over his appointment as Cork Senior football manager.

Holland and his selectors met with Cork County Board Executive officials last night at P�irc U� Chaoimh, but failed to give an indication that either he or selectors Diarmuid O'Donovan, Liam Hodnett, Mick O'Loughlin and Teddy McCarthy would be stepping down.

In a statement issued last night Holland strongly outlined his frustration over the animosity which has developed between the County Board and the players over the 96-day dispute.

"It is probably unique and a poor boast for all concerned. In the course of this dispute, the nature of many of the public and private utterances have been unnecessarily ugly, personalised and hurtful to many people and reflect little credit on anyone. It is time for it to stop," Holland said.

The Senior football manager stressed that he was "neither a county board nor a players' man" and that efforts to box people into one of these categories was the most negative development of the dispute.

"I am neither a county board man nor a player's man. I find the attempts to polarise people into one or other of these categories simplistic in the extreme and the most negative development of recent weeks.

"I am my own man and I am proud to be a Cork football man. I believe it important to clarify a number of points about my appointment. The presentation of that has been wholly inaccurate, even disingenuous, and has informed much of the comment in recent times.

"I was the preferred choice of three candidates for the position. Six people did not, as has been suggested, turn the position down. In fact, no one did. I accepted the position on the same basis as I accepted my position as manager of the minor footballers in 2000 � who incidentally won the All-Ireland. I had a full input into the appointment of my selectors and I would have been extremely happy to work with a group who have a fine experience of club and county football.

"There was no strike or threat of strike when I agreed to take up the appointment. If the existence of tension between player representatives and the county board was seen as a reason not to take up an appointment, then nothing would have moved in Cork GAA for years."

Holland also dismissed the role which former players turned pundits have played by voicing their opinions in the national media.

"I believe the role of former managers- turned-pundits has been particularly unhelpful in recent weeks as genuine efforts were being made to resolve differences. Far from facilitating a resolution, they became actors in the play and were, in my view, an unhelpful and pressurising presence.

He added, "Which brings me to the main purpose of this statement. In common with most Cork people, I am appalled by the degree of animosity which exists between players and the county board. It is probably unique and a poor boast for all concerned.

"The issues of recent weeks must prompt serious reflection on the part of Cork County Board on why this disconnect between players and the board exists.

"I would like to think that the players are open to learning from the drama of the last few weeks. A bit of calm would be a fine thing to restore. They need to recognise that strength of purpose is not the same as extreme action.

"As a GAA man, I found it extraordinary that they would refuse to allow the Runai of the Association, Paraic Duffy, and Kieran Mulvey, the most experienced dispute resolution expert in the country, to speak with them as a group. Where I come from, that would be regarded as offensive and disrespectful.

"The notion that the players somehow monopolise a desire to win is a myth. Last year's All-Ireland Final was the most chaotic, abject capitulation in the history of Cork football. It lacked all the qualities which I stand for and which I hope the players can learn in time.

"In their more honest moments, the players might reflect on their performances that day and use them as a motivation to drive them forward.

''In attempting to reach success, players must keep in mind that they are carried on the shoulders of tens of thousands of Cork men, women and children who admire them and envy them. Dare I say it, managers, selectors and boards also make their own important contribution.

"To reach a resolution, my head on a plate was the players' demand. I am quite happy in my own skin with what I did. I was not used and was not a pawn in anyone's game. I looked forward to working with the players, to improving their performances and in bringing forward perhaps as many as 12 new players onto the panel.

"Going forward, it might help if players were humble enough to accept that we are all transient and replaceable. The Cork jersey is held in trust by us all � players, coaches, mentors and the board, and it is our role to do the very best for it and what it represents.

"There is nothing "them and us" about achieving success. It is "us" or it is nothing.

"Finally, I would like to thank the members of my family, my employers, and many friends within the GAA and many people who I never met for their support in recent weeks," Holland concluded.

Meanwhile the Cork County Board Executive will meet with club representatives tonight to discuss Kieran Mulvey's recommendations.

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� Thomas Crosbie Media, 2008.