'It's a very messy situation' - TJ Reid predicts difficult year for Galway

The Hurler of the Year also spoke about the recent high-profile retirements and Kilkenny football.

Reid at last week's GAA GPA All-Stars ceremony.
Reid at last week's GAA GPA All-Stars ceremony.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

NEWLY CROWNED OPEL/GPA Hurler of the Year TJ Reid has described the Galway management crisis as ‘a very messy situation’ and suggested it could put pressure on the Tribesmen players in 2016.

Galway, defeated by Reid’s Kilkenny in September’s All-Ireland final, are without a manager just six weeks out from the new year after ousting Anthony Cunningham.

A strong vote of no confidence from the majority of players last weekend, in advance of a county board meeting scheduled to deal with the situation, prompted Cunningham to resign.

Cunningham was critical of the show of player power in a strongly worded resignation statement and Reid said he was grateful to have avoided such bust ups during his own glittering Kilkenny career.

“It’s a very messy situation, so it is,” said Reid. “You could be putting a lot of pressure on yourself and the players, doing that.”

The 28-year old half-forward added: “To be honest, I don’t know what’s going on up there. Obviously the players don’t have the respect for Anthony Cunningham. He’s after driving Galway very close to two All-Irelands.

“But he’s after losing the respect of the players, it’s unfortunate to see it.”

Reid said he had no inkling that there was disharmony in the Galway camp, particularly when they led the Cats by three points at half-time in the All-Ireland final, though insisted that nobody outside the camp could have known anyhow.

“Behind closed doors, you don’t know what’s going on,” said Reid. “They could have been fighting all year. Who knows? Certainly we don’t.”

Reid was speaking at the launch of the 2015 Opel GAA-GPA AllStars jersey to raise funds for the Childhood Cancer Foundation.

He said he was very surprised to learn of the four recent high profile retirements from Tipperary’s set-up with Lar Corbett the latest to call it quits. Kilkenny suffered a similarly haemorrhaging of talent last year with six iconic players departing though, so far, nobody has left Kilkenny ahead of the 2016 season.

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“Very surprised to be honest with those retirements because, looking on, you would be thinking that there was a few more years in those guys,” said Reid, who believes Jackie Tyrrell, Eoin Larkin and Mick Fennelly will all prolong their careers.

Interestingly, Reid came out strongly in support of Kilkenny football when asked if the decision to stage Dublin’s Leinster football championship opener at Nowlan Park next June might help to promote the ailing game locally.

TJ Reid celebrates scoring the first goal Reid celebrates scoring the first goal of this year's All-Ireland hurling final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Myself, I hate Kilkenny to be bad mouthed regarding football,” said Reid. “There are good players in Kilkenny, good footballers, for sure. Promoting it and getting players on board, that is the problem.

“There’s plenty of good footballers in Kilkenny but they just won’t put that foot forward because they could possibly be a bit embarrassed about it.

“No, I hate people talking down Kilkenny. Myself, I have two junior football medals. I love playing football but hurling kind of takes over and that’s the key thing in Kilkenny, hurling does take over a small bit.”

Lar Corbett becomes the fourth Tipperary player to retire in a week

Pauric Mahony is ‘starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel’ after six-month lay-off

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Paul Keane

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