CAVAN ladies football manager Conor Barry has announced his resignation just two weeks’ before the Lidl Division 2 National League kicks off.
Barry, who was appointed manager in October 2015, has cited his disappointment with the Cavan Ladies Football Board and a lack of player welfare as his reason for stepping down.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening, Barry stated that he would not be continuing in his role as manager despite Cavan’s opening Division 2 league game against Westmeath in just 11 days’ time.
“The level of ambition, workrate and sacrifice that the players and management team are making are not being matched at county board level,” Barry said.
“Basic player welfare, fundraising, sponsorship, strategic planning, fixtures and everything that can be done to achieve success on the pitch is not being put in place off the pitch.”
In an article in The Anglo Celt on Wednesday, Barry slammed the Cavan County Board for what he believes is a lack of failure to act on player welfare.
“The reason I did this is for the players. Player welfare is number one. We have players who are injured and the county board took a vote at a meeting and said they would not pay for the medical treatment, scans etc. They don’t believe that the players were injured playing or training for Cavan.
“One of the players cannot afford the scans so if they’re not covered they’re not going to get them – and in that particular case it’s a spinal injury,” Barry stated.
Among the issues Barry refers to was request for wet gear for the players which was turned down and that when he asked whether the squad could fundraise themselves to pay for it, it was dismissed.
“I asked the board would it be okay if the players were to fundraise for the gear and the comment that was made in the room on the night was ‘it’s not a fashion show we’re running here’!”
Barry, a native of Arva, informed the secretary of the county board, Michael Gilmartin, of his resignation last Friday, but subsequently withdrew it on Sunday. However, he was informed that the board had accepted his resignation by the time of his withdrawal request.
He went on to say that the county’s senior panel had to buy their own match day gear, have not been provided with meals after training and that the county board notified players of the following week’s club fixtures the day before their All-Ireland championship quarter-final against the reigning champions Cork last August. Barry claims that the board did not seem to believe that his side would beat the Rebels, given had they won, the domestic fixtures would not have been scheduled.
“I stepped down because the ambition that the players and management have and the sacrifices that they’re making is not being matched around the board room in my view.
“I did this for the players. Very much so because what I’ve seen over the last two years – and I know their frustration goes back to 2011 when they asked for a fundraising committee…sponsorship, fundraising, player welfare, fixtures…
“All these issues are repeatedly coming up with both players and management and they’re not being addressed,” said Barry, who added that he was also shouldering the much of the PR work for the county’s premiere side given there is no PRO currently in place on the board.
On Wednesday Barry officially released his statement of resignation.
It is understood an incident last week prompted his decision to depart, with Barry claiming he was given the go-ahead to include two minor players on his training panel, however he was then instructed to remove them.
“Last Wednesday night the county executive met and I was told to tell the players that they had to leave the panel. I decided to resign before doing that. There is no rule on players not playing senior football if they’re minor but I was told that there’s a by-law in Cavan that prevents this,” said Barry, who has since learned that the by-law was never registered with Croke Park.
Speaking on behalf of the Cavan County Board, chairman Martin Brady rejected the criticisms levelled at the committee by the outgoing manager.
“I will say in the strongest terms that player welfare has never been an issue. I reject any accusation that we have not been looking after the players. We have given the players everything they need within our budget, which is obviously limited.
“We have a National League match on Sunday week. We have to sit down and look for a new management team and we’ll take what Conor has said on board.”
In his resignation statement, Barry thanked the players for their support.
“I have to thank them for the belief and effort they have shown over the past two years. It’s not easy giving such commitment and in the long dark winter nights of winter with players travelling great distances and making sacrifices for the greater good of the team.
“I only hope that you can build on the last two years’ hard work and push on to achieve even greater things in the future,” he added.
January 19, 2017