By Seamus Hayes
There were angry exchanges at this week’s meeting of Clare GAA when Whitegate chairman David Solon claimed that “the reception given to Wexford when they came to Ennis for the hurling qualifier clash with Clare was disgraceful.
Challenging the Whitegate delegate to specify the issues, county secretary Pat Fitzgerald reminded the meeting that “the last time I had to speak after complaints by you, I had to fight to talk as well. “We did not give Wexford any better or worse reception that what we gave to any other county and we didn’t get a great reception when we went to Wexford and we are not crying about it. If there is an issue, come out and say what it is”.
“There are three issues”, replied Solon. “The first is that after travelling four to four and a half hours on a bus to Cusack Park, they were refused access to the pitch just to walk around and stretch their legs. Secondly, the dressing room floors were so we that they were unable to put their gear down on the floor and thirdly the toilets were an absolute disgrace”.
“There is no team ever allowed on to Cusack Park, not even our own”, secretary Fitzgerald stated.
“I am the event controller at Cusack Park and when Liam Dunne came to me asking to go our on the pitch, I let them out”, John Fawl told the meeting.
“That was just prior to the match”, replied Solon.
“That’s not true”, claimed Fawl before repeating that he let Wexford onto the pitch when Liam Dunne asked him.
” I have been in Croke Park at meetings with the Wexford chairman and we were there for two days a few weeks ago and he never brought it up with me. I was down in Wexford Park and nothing was mentioned. If they had, I would have dealt with it. It is news to me and that is being honest”, board chairman Michael McDonagh said.
The chairman added “two of the Wexford senior officials went on to Miltown for the Willie Clancy week. We socialised together and they were happy with the arrangements
“Wexford are a very proud county and if that is the sort of carry on by our senior management to get the upper hand on a team coming to Cusack Park”, its sad”, according to Solon.
“That’s a scandalous comment and you should withdraw it. The senior team management had nothing to do with it”, replied secretary Fitzgerald.
“Somebody had something to do with it”, according to the Whitegate delegate
“It’s very bad management by Wexford if they drove up from Wexford without having arrangements made to go to some pitch for a warm up”, according to St. Josephs delegate Pat Frawley before telling the meeting that “many teams came to Roslevan to warm up before games in Cusack Park over the years
Fitzgerald told the meeting that Wexford had received a Garda escort from Newmarket where they had warmed up before the game and this was confirmed by Newmarket delegate P.J. McMahon.
Telling the meeting that he could not comment on the Wexford situation, Miltown delegate Noel Walsh said “the complaint with regard to the toilets is indefensible”.
Replying to this board chairman McDonagh said “we have spent €10,000 on the toilets since then in an effort to correct the problem”.
Treasurer Bernard Keane repeated this saying “we did invest a lot of money in that area even though we knew that the upgrading of Cusack Park was coming up”. He went on to add that he has “noticed that nobody had said they are an awful lot better now”.