Hurling accusations

OFFALY Senior Hurling management and players have hit out at the situation that arose last Saturday in O’Connor Park in a letter which claims they were forced to call off training due to the treatment of the side at the venue

OFFALY Senior Hurling management and players have hit out at the situation that arose last Saturday in O’Connor Park in a letter which claims they were forced to call off training due to the treatment of the side at the venue

The incident seems to stem from the fact that the much publicised Centra Hurling Skills Tour also visited O’Connor Park on Saturday last and was ongoing when the Offaly team and management arrived.

A letter to County Board Secretary Martin Boland, which was circulated to all clubs in the county, claims that the gates were locked, players and mentors were asked to leave the field and that there was a threat of cars being removed from outside the ground.

The letter was signed by manager Joe Dooley, players Brian Carroll, Joe Bergin and Shane Dooley, selectors Pat McLoughney and Brendan Kelly and Team Secretary Tony Murphy,

As a result of this treatment, the letter claims that they ‘had no other choice but to call off training’. It further claims that it ‘has been an ongoing issue all year’ although no other specific incidents are outlined.

The letter also claims that the panel ‘are not wanted in O’Connor Park’ adding that every reason seems to be used to keep them ‘out of the pitch or off the pitch during training sessions’.

The letter then goes on to highlight the commitment given by players outlining distances travelled, the conditions endured in training since last December, the injuries picked up, surgeries required and the fact that players missed work due to these injuries.

It says that to then, ‘be treated in this way is just not good enough’ claiming that it ‘would not happen in other counties and it did not happen in Offaly in the past’.

The letter states that ‘having a facility like O’Connor Park is no advantage if our teams are not afforded the use of these facilities to prepare for big championship games in a spirit of support co-operation’.

The letter concludes by saying that no further requests will be made for the use of O’Connor Park, asks that serious consideration be given to staging some of Offaly Division 2 League Games in Birr next year while also requesting the support of clubs in making their facilities available.

It is understood that the Management Committee of the County Board were due to meet last night (Tuesday) to discuss the matter and were not commenting on the letter before then.

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