Clare GAA stand over Brian Lohan’s comments over ‘close contacts’ designation
Clare say HSE confirmed to them one player was identified by the colour of his helmet
Clare GAA are standing over comments by hurling manager Brian Lohan in relation to two players being deemed close contacts after the game against Wexford. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Clare GAA are standing by hurling manager Brian Lohan’s comments on how two players ended up being designated as ‘close contacts’ for Covid purposes after the league meeting with Wexford in Ennis the week before last.
On Sunday, Lohan told RTÉ that his players had been “nominated as close contacts” by Wexford hurlers. This was disputed by Wexford GAA, whose chair Micheál Martin, said on radio the following morning: “I would like to again reiterate that no Wexford player had anything to do with the listing of Clare players as close contacts.
“This information can be independently verified by the HSE. We have spoken to the HSE and they, in turn, have spoken to Clare GAA, like I have with my counterpart there, and informed Clare GAA once again that the accusation is inaccurate.”
Croke Park later commented through Feargal McGill, the association’s director of games administration, that the designation of close contacts was a matter for the HSE.
“Only a public health specialist can make the determination of who is a close contact. In this case, the decision would be with the local health authority – HSE Midwest. They would be the ones to designate close contacts. It had nothing to do with Wexford.”
It is understood that Clare and Lohan were unhappy with this intervention and on Tuesday afternoon released the following statement.
“The HSE designated Clare players as close contacts, which is their function and was never disputed. The issue is how they were identified as close contacts. The HSE in the Midwest region were informed by the contact tracing team in relation to the decision that was made.
“Brian Lohan as manager of the Clare team contacted the HSE locally when he was informed of the designation of two senior hurlers as close contacts. The HSE informed him that two players were identified on foot of discussions between the contact tracing team of the HSE and the Wexford players involved, who were positive cases.
“The HSE did confirm that one of the players was identified not by name but by the colour of their helmet. This has led to two players having to self-isolate and if this process continues without clear clarification regarding ‘close’ and ‘casual’ contact from Croke Park it will have ramifications for the season ahead for club and county games.
“Here below is the segment taken from the Covid-19: Return to Training and Play Guidelines for intercounty Teams regarding ‘close contacts’ as against ‘casual contacts’.
“Potential ‘Close’ Contact scenarios
“The following scenarios require careful planning and the implementation of strict control measures by those involved with inter county panels.
- "Use of a Gym or other indoor training facility.
- "Use of dressing rooms (including showers)
- "Pre and Post match/training meals
- "Meetings for tactical analysis or game preparation.
- "Collectively travelling to and from games/training.
- "Overnight accommodation.
“None of the above refer to on-field playing activity.
“Brian Lohan stands by his comments made last Sunday in relation to the incident and there remains much disappointment and frustration in our county in relation to why the Clare players were identified. We have already made representations to Croke Park on this player welfare issue, and we will be making further representation through the GPA.
“To conclude, Clare GAA stand fully by the comments issued by the Clare senior hurling manager.”
Meanwhile, the postponed game between Kilkenny and Wexford will take place at UPCM Nowlan Park this Sunday, with a 3pm throw-in, subject to the Wexford players currently isolating being deemed “safe to play” by the HSE on Thursday.