Ryan Byrne/INPHO Liam Kearns (file pic)
# Unhappy
'That's the integrity of the competition shot' - Offaly boss Kearns on O'Byrne Cup
Earlier this week, Louth opted not to play what would have been a dead rubber with Wexford.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 12th 2023, 3:04 PM

OFFALY BOSS Liam Kearns questioned the integrity of the O’Byrne Cup in a post-match interview last night.

Speaking to GAA streaming service Clubber, Kearns was unhappy at fixtures not being fulfilled in the competition.

Earlier this week, Louth opted not to play what would have been a dead rubber with Wexford, having already qualified from the group stage.

Kearns felt this decision handed an unfair advantage to their prospective semi-final opponents after his side had just come through a hard-fought win over Dublin.

“To be honest with you, I wouldn’t mind dropping out of the competition at this stage,” he said.

“We’ve had two hard games in four days. It will be a third game in eight days and our opponents have been sitting at home for the whole week.

“They withdrew from a competition here, they didn’t fulfil their last fixture. That’s the integrity of the competition shot as far as I’m concerned. If you enter a competition, you should have to fulfil your fixtures.

“They’re going to have a week of rest and we have had a very hard game here against Dublin and four days later we’re supposed to play them, and I believe it’s on in Louth as well. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a game too much for us.”

Louth’s game is not the only fixture to have been cancelled of late. Earlier today, it was confirmed that Carlow were pulling out of their upcoming O’Byrne Cup clash with Laois owing to “Sigerson Cup commitments, injuries and sickness”.

Kildare also said earlier this week that they would be unable to fulfill a fixture against Westmeath.

“They’re shoehorning games into January,” Kearns added. “The bottom line here is we have a load of guys playing Sigerson Cup and we have a load of guys trying to play pre-season competitions. What are the pre-season competitions about if you can’t play your best players?

“The reality is it’s 10pm, they’ll be out of here [Parnell Park] at 10.30pm. They might get a quick bite and then they have to make their way home and report for work tomorrow on a Wednesday night up to Dublin. Then they’re expected to go out four days later.

“The integrity of the competition is everybody should be treated the same. If Louth went and played a match tonight in wherever they were supposed to play, then fair enough, we’d both be going out playing in four days’ time having played a hard game in tough conditions. But they didn’t.

“That means now that all the advantages are with Louth. You can dress it up any way you like; that’s the reality of it.

“Any competition you enter, that’s what you want — an equal playing field for all teams.

“We’ve picked up two or three injuries and now we’re going to force out tired bodies for a third game in eight days — wrong, that’s my opinion.”

Originally published today at 12.46

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