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County hurlers hit out at delay in appointing a manager

TWO of Tyrone’s leading hurlers have hit out at the delay in appointing a new manager, which has caused considerable ill-feeling among the hurling fraternity in the county.

Team captain Chris Kearns has said he would seriously consider whether it’s all worth it if Mattie Lennon isn’t reinstalled as their senior intercounty manager – while their star forward Damian Casey is concerned that the ship has already sailed and the damage is done.

Covid-19 was cited by Tyrone County Board Chairperson Mickey Kerr as a reason for the hold up after Casey tweeted last Friday that the County Board “don’t give a ****” about hurling – an explanation that isn’t cutting any ice with either Kearns or Casey.

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Following Tyrone’s Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final loss to Donegal in mid-November, boss Mattie Lennon finished up after three years in charge.

It’s understood that Lennon was willing to put his name forward again, but contact hasn’t been forthcoming even though the National League is scheduled to commence at the end of February.

Casey said: “I’d say things are too far gone now at this stage. To be honest I’ve more time for Mattie as an Armagh man than some of the people in the county board. He’s done more for Tyrone hurling than others in there would do in two life-times.

“If we’re bringing in a new man, we’ll be on the back-foot right away. A manager will have to be appointed, a backroom team will have to be assembled, and they’ll need to speak to players to see if they’ll make themselves available. There’s countless stuff that needs to be sorted.

“The way I see it, it shows that they don’t really care. Maybe someone can come forward and tell me different, but if they cared, there’d be something in place.”

Tyrone skipper Chris Kearns, meanwhile, says that all he’s asking is that the hurlers are treated with some degree of parity. He can cite countless examples evidencing an endemic lack of respect culminating in the present fiasco.

“This has been threatening for the three years since I’ve been involved. In the first year, we couldn’t get a grass pitch – they were trying to put us on the 3G pitch, you can’t hurl on a 3G pitch and it’s not fair. You could think you’re flying but you go out onto a normal pitch and realise it’s completely different.

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Ulster Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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