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'Poor coaching and man management' among Galway players' issues with Anthony Cunningham

The panel’s letter to the county board has been leaked.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

GALWAY’S SENIOR HURLERS say poor one-on-one interactions, a ‘disjointed tactical approach’ and the belief that Anthony Cunningham would not deliver the Liam MacCarthy to the county are the reasons for their lack of confidence in their former manager.

Citing a ‘kangaroo court decision’ Cunningham at last stepped down as Tribesemen boss on Monday.

The saga began when Cunningham was ratified by the board despite the players expressing their desire for a new face in charge.

Many of the players are in Boston for the exhibition game against Dublin this weekend but their letter to the county board was leaked — first to SportsJoe – and details the panel’s reasons for moving against the man who brought them to within arm’s reach of an All-Ireland.

Poor man management

The players detail one incident at training which, they indicate, illustrates the unsatisfactory one-on-one dealings they apparently experienced with the St Thomas’ man.

“There is the story of one committed member of the panel who approached Anthony to ask what he could do to improve to give him a chance of making the 26 match-day squad. Anthony gave the player no clear coaching tips to improve but accused him of dragging down player morale within the squad.

“The player subsequently left the panel demoralised and shattered despite pleas from new playing colleagues to stick with it. This is just one example of what the players believe are very poor one on one interactions Anthony has with his players.”

Bad coaching

Cunningham may have been perceived as an innovative coach who almost earned the ultimate prize on a couple of occasions but the Galway panel were fair from impressed.

“The management told players in training that Pat Malone was the backs’ coach,” the letter reads. “Seven days before the All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary we had our final training game before the match.

“Before the training game one member of the full back line was instructed by Pat Malone that his job would be to mark a particular Tipperary forward in the semi-final. That instruction was contradicted by Eugene Cloonan, the forwards coach, who told him he would be picking up a different Tipperary forward.

“Where success at inter-county level often comes down to marginal gains, the disjointed tactical approach of Anthony and his management team is not good enough.”

This isn’t about the Kilkenny game

The players say that their motives do not stem from a disappointing half hour in the All-Ireland decider against Kilkenny.

“We have, to date, avoided any washing of dirty laundry in public because we do not want to embarrass anybody or to make the process of moving on from this impasse any more difficult than needs to be. Dissatisfaction with Anthony’s management does not arise simply because the team played poorly in the second half of the All-Ireland final. Almost all points of dissatisfaction pre-date the All-Ireland final and most issues have been ongoing and growing over the course of the last two seasons,” it reads.

You can read the entire letter below. “It’s time to give a balanced view of the issue rather than allowing the players to be lambasted by media and public,” wrote the person who sent us the correspondence.

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