Clare hurler humiliated by ‘double-standard’ treatment

Man-of-the match in 2013 Under-21 final not allowed into dressing room

One of the Clare hurlers embroiled in a disciplinary breach which forced him to depart the panel has said that he was left “humiliated” by the treatment he received from manager Davy Fitzgerald.

On Friday it was revealed that following a disciplinary issue involving a small number of the Clare panel both Davy O’Halloran and Nicky O’Connell had left the squad. It’s now been revealed that the duo refused to fulfil their three weeks of punishment which they say isolated them from and humiliated them in front of their team-mates. They did so when they realised that a senior member of the squad was exempt from similar sanctions despite what they considered a more serious breach. This was not confirmed by the Clare management team.

Davy O’Halloran says that he was not allowed access to the team changing rooms, forced to tog out separately, he was prevented from wearing the panel’s gear to training, he was unable to be involved in matches or travel to them, no dialogue was allowed with other team mates at sessions and he was made to train alone in a corner of the pitch doing intensive physical work.

A senior All-Ireland winner in 2013, O’Halloran claims that he could not accept the draconian measures, for being caught on a night out two days before a league game, when another player had admitted consuming alcohol to the management team and received no such reprisal.


“I had a strained hamstring so I wasn’t able to train anyway so that’s why I was out, I definitely wouldn’t have been out if I could have featured against Galway. And I wasn’t drinking.” says O’Halloran who says the discipline breach took place prior to Clare’s league opener with Galway last month during a five week injury layoff.

“Myself and Nicky O’Connell were out two nights before the Galway game and the two of us were actually injured at the time and we weren’t drinking. We met one of our trainers out and he said he would say it back to the captain about us being out and we just said fair enough.

“Davy wasn’t told until after the Cork game because they didn’t want to tell him until after the two league games so they waited until we had our week’s break.


“He then called a meeting on the Tuesday night in the dressing room, he called it out in front of everyone [the punishments].

“While all of this was happening another senior player told Nicky that he’d had a meeting with one of the selectors who told him he knew that he was drinking but he wasn’t going to say anything about it.

“We just thought it was double standards, one rule for us and a different rule for someone else just because he was a pivotal part of the team and we weren’t at the time basically.”

O’Halloran, who is now likely to join the trio of ex hurlers in the county football panel, claims that upon the pair’s decision to leave they wrote a letter for the captain to read out to the squad stating their rationale. This they claim was ripped up in front of the squad by Fitzgerald.

“A lot of the lads aren’t happy, see lads are too scared to stand up to him.

“I just didn’t see myself being there knowing that I was getting treated differently to another player – and if we were running around a pitch for three weeks we would have missed the whole league campaign and we wouldn’t have had much of a hope of making it into a championship team.”

The Clare management team declined to comment.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times