Ahern: both sides need to keep heads
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I R I S H   E X A M I N E R . C O M   -   20 February 2008.

Ahern: both sides need to keep heads

By Shaun Connolly and John Riordan
TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern last night warned both sides in the dispute rocking Cork GAA not to let personality clashes get out of hand.
Mr Ahern said it was up to the GAA authorities to resolve the bitter row, but as a fan of the game he wanted those involved to keep their cool.

“I suppose, as a GAA supporter, we would all like to see it resolved. I suppose if I was to give any word of advice, on any issue that ever creates difficulties, it’s to try to keep the focus on the issue.

“Because what happens is when side issues and personality issues get into things, it’s very difficult to resolve. So my word of advice always in these issues is keep it on the core question,” Mr Ahern said at Croke Park yesterday.

Meanwhile, over 700 Cork GAA fans took to the streets of Cork last night in a show of support for the players. Organised at the last minute by Thomas ‘Bomber’ Roche, the protest march circled the city before gathering outside the Imperial Hotel on the South Mall.

“It was a bad night (weather wise),” declared Roche, “but this was our way to show the GAA and the County Board what the people really want. We want to tell the county board you have to fix this and we want the Cork players wearing the red and white jersey back out on the field.”

Marching supporter Paul Creighton, an actor from Milford, showed up because following Cork was such a big part of his life.

“There needs to be a resolution. They’re going to have to realise that there is people power and player power and the board are finally going to have to accept that the bad old days are gone.

“Cork is a laughing stock around the country because the manager is not allowed to pick his selectors. It’s handcuffing the man to say he can’t do that.

“There’s no manager in any sport in the world who would accept that and if he did, he wouldn’t be a manager. The turnout is amazing, you wouldn’t put a dog out in this weather. It goes to show the support for the players.

“The board are the custodians of the sport in Cork, it belongs to the people and it belongs to the players and it’s time to give it back to them.”

A Ballincollig clubman who preferred to remain anonymous expressed his full support for the players: “I think the County Board have the wherewithal to resolve this matter. There have been far bigger disputes than this. I have great time and respect for Frank Murphy, but this matter should be sorted out. People vote with their feet.

“The players have given huge commitment and a lot of pleasure to Cork supporters and I think they deserve better than they are getting.

“This could have a huge effect on Cork GAA for years to come. In any dispute somebody has to concede so it should be sorted.

“Clubs do have a big say but how many actually got to vote? I am a club member and nobody asked me for my vote or anybody who is here.

‘‘Somebody went in to represent the clubs, a couple of officers got together, that’s not true representation. I am an active club member, I’m on the ground so I know that people are supportive of the players.”

John O’Riordan of Millstreet said he wasn’t completely in favour of the strike but rather the sentiment. “I came because Cork should be getting the best manager they can possibly get. Teddy Holland is a good man but he was second choice. We want the first choice, Billy Morgan.”

© Thomas Crosbie Media, 2008.