The ongoing Cork hurling crisis took yet another twist last weekend when 12,000 supporters marched through the city center on Saturday in support of the striking 2008 squad - and just 2,000 watched the 2009 version lose to Dublin in their opening NHL game. Beleaguered manager Gerald McCarthy, who was involved in a live radio spat with former captain Donal Og Cusack on Saturday, saw his development side well beaten by the Dubs at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. "I'm not a bit disappointed with the crowd," said McCarthy. "They were fully behind this team, they gave it great support. It's not easy for fans to be forking out *15 for a national league game. "I'm here to talk about today's game really. I'm not going to spend my time talking about yesterday's rally or anything else that's not connected to our bunch of hurlers there. "There is encouragement from the point of view that we fulfilled a National League fixture that in other circumstances, if players had their way, we would not fulfill and that we would be deemed and determined by those to go into Division Two hurling without even a fight. "I'm not prepared to do that, and it's a proud hurling county down here. And if we end up in Division Two out of this, at least we'll have fought to get there and we will not say anything about this group of players. "They have come to Cork's cause in a very trying situation. They had the heart and the determination to come out here and be thrown into the deep end, so I'm very proud of them for doing that." McCarthy and his former star Cusack had earlier clashed on the Marian Finucane show on RTE on Saturday when the manager claimed there are hidden agendas behind the current strike. "The amateur status is very important to us and there are hidden agendas in my view in all of this," claimed McCarthy. "Down the road, people would need to look at the real issues here. Is professionalism on the way? If the players are snapping their authority on managers it's only a very short step to professionalism maybe and that is something that I would guard against. "I think the association would lose an awful lot if it went down the professional route." Questioning the right of the players to veto his appointment, McCarthy said, "There was a manager appointed, democratically by the clubs at a County Board meeting, 86 votes to 6, that I should be manager. "Is it the situation that a group of players can veto the appointment of the manager? "That is the kernel of the problem from my angle and if player power has got to the stage where it can do this, then I have a big problem with it. "The players are not coaches themselves. Donal Og himself had done a bit of coaching with his club, they'd reached three county finals and failed to win one, so I was a bit annoyed at that stage I must admit." Cusack then rang the show to answer some of the allegations made by McCarthy. "This is absolutely nothing to do with professionalism," said the goalkeeper. "Thirty players asked the county board not to put the man in place. On numerous occasions over the past two years we would have relayed concerns to the manager. "It's well documented that there were serious issues with Gerald McCarthy. We're being totally misrepresented. We didn't want to come out and knife Gerald McCarthy in public." The problems mounted for McCarthy on Thursday when the Cork county footballers announced that they are prepared to join the strike action at the end of the National League campaign unless a solution is found in favor of the striking hurlers. A statement from the football squad claimed, "We feel it is now time to clarify our position, which is that we fully support the stance taken by the 2008 hurling panel. "We confirm our unanimous agreement to withdraw our services as of the end of the National Football League unless a resolution is found to the satisfaction of the 2008 hurling and football panels. "We support the plea of the hurlers that a process, by which the clubs discuss and debate the issue, in an appropriate time frame, would begin as soon as possible. We would urge all Cork GAA followers to actively engage with their clubs so their views can be reflected at club and county level." Reacting to the threat from the footballers, McCarthy said, "I don't think it should have happened this way, but that's the way things are. It's just where we are right now. It's all very sad and deepens the crisis quite a bit."
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