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Wexford chairman calls for Clare boss Lohan to retract 'outrageous' comments

The fall-out continues from the recent National Hurling League fixture between the counties.

Brian Lohan: oversaw victory over Laois yesterday.
Brian Lohan: oversaw victory over Laois yesterday.
Image: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

Updated May 24th 2021, 1:00 PM

WEXFORD CHAIRMAN MICHEAL Martin has described Brian Lohan’s comments as ‘outrageous’ and called on the Clare manager to retract them as the fall-out continues from their clash in Ennis eight days ago.

Lohan said he found the way two of his players were deemed as close contacts of Wexford players, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, as unusual. The Banner boss had to plan without the pair for yesterday’s game with Laois.  

“We were contacted by the HSE to say that two of the Wexford players had nominated two of our players as close contacts,” Lohan said after the victory at O’Moore Park.

“That was unusual for us because all the protocols that we do are aimed to make sure that all contacts are casual contacts rather than close contacts. 

“In one instance in particular, where a substitute came on for Wexford, he named one of our players as a close contact so I find it very unusual that that would be the case.” 

He continued: “I don’t think that we have to learn anything from it, we follow the rules, whatever the rules are. But certainly there was a whole lot of anger amongst our set-up as a result of what happened.” 

Lohan told RTÉ that he sought clarification on the issue and spoke to public health representatives and has called for more clarification on the matter generally. 

When contacted by The42 today, the reply from HSE/South East Community Healthcare was that they do not comment on individual cases.

Speaking to South East Radio, Wexford chairman Martin said Lohan’s comments were “ill-informed and quick frankly I think they’re outrageous.”

He continued, “At no time did Wexford GAA or players of Wexford GAA nominate close contacts. That simply doesn’t happen. The only people that decide whether you’re a close contact or not is public health and the HSE.  

“I’m disappointed to have to address it this morning and the insinuation that our players nominated is completely inaccurate.”

He added that Lohan’s comments were “quite hurtful to the players involved.”

Referencing John Kiely’s decision last week to retract remarks he made about Galway, Martin called for Lohan to make a similar move.

“Last weekend for example, the Limerick hurling manager made some comments in the heat of [the moment] after the match. He apologised and retracted them on the following Monday. I would hope something similar would happen in this regard. 

“Comments can be made after a match and emotions can run high.

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“When dealing with things like this, there is an onus to have a degree of accuracy in what you’re saying. To make comments about our players that are inaccurate, I can’t allow that happen.” 

Earlier, Wexford hit back at Lohan and issued a short statement that read: “Wexford GAA wish to address the comments made by Clare senior hurling manager Brian Lohan on Sunday, 23 May. The suggestion made that members of Wexford GAA had somehow nominated Clare players as close contacts is factually incorrect.

“Wexford GAA have again spoken to HSE South East this morning and this position can be independently verified by HSE. Wexford GAA will continue to work through the protocols as requested by HSE.”

Clare GAA PRO Michael O’Connor to Clare FM made a statement to Clare FM, in which he said: “Clare GAA asked the two players who were deemed close contacts last week to step back from training and game activity once they were named and as a consequence have to isolate for the intervening 10 days from notification.

“Following voluntary testing of the two nominated Clare players they were deemed to be negative but will still be isolating.

“At all times Clare GAA teams adhere to the guidelines laid down by the HSE and the governing body of our sport. Clare GAA will take on board at all times the advice and support provided by the health authorities. Clare GAA will endeavour to ensure the strictest management of health and safety during Covid and non-Covid times for all Clare GAA teams and request that the clubs of the county do likewise as we now move into the playing season at levels.

“Clare GAA would like to wish the Wexford players a speedy recovery and finally congratulations our senior footballers and hurlers on their league wins yesterday in Newbridge and Portlaoise.”

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