Sunderland returns to hurling hotseat

Willie Sunderland.

Willie Sunderland.

Wexford man Willie Sunderland is back at helm of the Kildare hurlers after agreement was made with the County Board last Saturday, while his team are back in training for their forthcoming Kehoe Cup and National Hurling League campaign, writes Ruth Chambers.

Just before Christmas Sunderland, his selectors Mattie Dowd and Don McSweeney, stood down in protest over a severe cut to their budget for 2013. The management trio received full backing from the players.

The move was followed by two weeks of negotiations between Sunderland and the County Board and agreement was finally reached last week.

Sunderland, an Oulart-the-Ballagh club man, launched a scathing attack on the County Board following his resignation and claimed that his players were without basic equipment, pitches for training and medical personnel, while their massive budget cut curtailed management’s ability to organise challenge matches.

The hurlers budget was considerable slashed for 2013 due to the County Board’s E700,000 deficit. Just E75,000 was allocated to run the three (senior, Under 21 and minor) county hurling teams, down from E100,000 in 2012.

A statement, issued by the Kildare County Board last Saturday, confirmed that agreement had been reached and that players and management were to return to training with immediate effect.

The hurlers open their 2013 campaign on January 27 against either Louth or Queen University, Belfast, while the kick start their Division 2A journey with a home game against Laois on February 23.

Meanwhile, it is thought that Kildare’s new sponsor is set to be unveiled shortly.

Long serving Tegral opted out late last year and the County Board have been in negotiations with a number of perspective main sponsors since the announcement.




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