Ger Cunningham has responded to claims that he was disrespectful in his handling of Simon Lambert’s recent omission from the Dublin senior hurling panel.
Last month saw Lambert criticise Cunningham in an interview with the Irish independent, saying that he was “disappointed to be left out” by the Dublin boss and that the reasons given to him were “disrespectful”.
Cunningham has since responded to that criticism in a recent interview with the Indo and said that he was “surprised and disappointed” by the 27-year-old’s claims.
“Simon said he regarded the reasons given for leaving him off the panel as disrespectful. They were not and that’s a fact,” Cunningham stated.
“Obviously, any player left off a panel is going to be disappointed and frustrated. But by meeting him and giving him the reasons (for his omission) I felt it would give him an opportunity to go away and work on the issues I mentioned. What transpired between me and Simon – and any other player for that matter – is private to us.
“The door is always open to him – or anyone else – for a return. It’s just a decision the management has made at this point in time.”
Cunningham also touched on his decision to omit goalkeeper Alan Nolan, stating: “I understand how Alan feels but as, as a management group, we decided we were bringing two goalkeepers for 2016 and opted for Gary (Maguire) and Conor Dooley. It’s a call we made – that’s what we’re there for.”
The timing of Danny Sutcliffe’s departure from the panel inevitably led to rumours that he too had been omitted by Cunningham, but the Cork native outlined that it is not the case.
“Danny had his own reasons for opting out and I fully respect them,” he stated. “Of course, it’s a disappointment to lose a player like him. The thing is, I sat down with all three players to have face-to-face chats with them.
“Danny’s situation was a bit different in that he was opting out for his own reasons but it was very important that I talked things through with Simon and Alan to explain my thinking.
“I understand their frustrations but management has a job to do and we would not be serving Dublin’s interests to the best of our ability if we didn’t go with what we thought was right.
“Change is inevitable in every panel. There are other players out there we need to look at and test out. And, of course, the door is open to every player, including Simon and Alan. The fact that Simon made those comments would never come against him. We’re bigger than that.”
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