Offaly selector perplexed by football fallout amid Brian Gavin criticism

Gavin has said the management team's positions are untenable

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Offaly selector perplexed by football fallout amid Brian Gavin criticism

Offaly selector perplexed by football fallout amid Brian Gavin criticism

The only Offaly native on Stephen Wallace's senior football management team has told the Offaly Express that he is perplexed by the criticism and media storm that has surrounded the set-up since last Sunday's championship defeat to Wicklow.

Ferbane's Paul Mollen said he was looking "mouth-open" at some of the criticism that has been filtering out from former All-Ireland referee and Clara GAA chairman Brian Gavin, and others, in recent days. 

While saying, "I don't want to get into a one-on-one with this guy [Gavin]," Mollen questioned the basis of his criticism. Gavin said Nigel Dunne was on his way home at half-time on commentary for Midlands 103, and reiterated it a number of times since, while the Shamrocks man tweeted on Wednesday to set the record straight on the fact that he had admittedly had a "sulk" but was back in the dugout before the referee had resumed the game.

Gavin also criticised the decision to play Ruairi McNamee who was just three weeks back with the squad having been travelling in Australia, suggesting that such a move was unfair to lads that had been training since last October. Paul Mollen rubbished this criticism, suggesting work was being done in the background long before Ruairi landed back in his native Rhode.

"Does he [Gavin] even know the detail of the contact that had taken place between Billy Sheehan, Stephen Wallace and that man in Australia and the work being done for months before he came back. He was returning GPS stats, training and all the rest while in contact with the camp for months beforehand," Paul explained. 

Sean Pender was another player visibly displeased with being called ashore early in the game but Paul Mollen is adamant that that change was made on medical advice so as to avoid serious long-term injury for the Edenderry man. He also said that he saw no commotion at half-time in the Wicklow game, having been in the dressing room during the interval. 

Paul addressed talk of a player heave against Stephen Wallace as manager from within the dressing by telling the Offaly Express that such a suggestion is not the reality, going on to say, "I'm finding it hard to fathom that this [criticism], as far as I can see, is coming from one guy [Brian Gavin] and wherever is information is coming from."

On a wider point he spoke highly of the professionalism in the Offaly camp, saying, "I've been involved in a lot of county and club teams through the years, but I've never seen anything like the attention to detail in the set-up since Stephen Wallace, Billy Sheehan and Brendan Kealy came in."

Paul spoke in light of the Wicklow defeat and the commentary on the camp that has followed, saying, "There's one thing I always know about football and that's if you win, everybody wins and if you lose everybody loses; managemment, players, the lot, but you stand up, take it on the chin and then do something about it."

He said training is going ahead on Wednesday evening where, as usual, the video of the Wicklow game will be "chopped and cut and analysed," and a discussion will take place on what exactly went wrong. 

Paul said categorically that he could not envisage any sort of player walk-out from the camp, concluding with reference to the Gavin comments, "I don't know where they're coming."