World According To Loughnane: Clare FM interview highlights

 

"At the All-Ireland quarter-final, in Dublin on the Sunday before last, the chairman of the Clare County Board was sitting in the VIP section. Seated directly behind him - I'll mention no names - were three priests. They discussed . . . they weren't watching the match obviously. Their main discussion was on the Clare team which went on the lines that the Clare team were tinkers, Loughnane was a tramp and the Clare team must be on drugs. This was the general tenor of their conversation.

"One of the priests then . . . said: `Don't worry. The PRO - who I will not name - of the Munster Council has told me that he had been talking to the secretary of the Munster Council - who I will not name - and that the Munster Council was going to get Loughnane up into the stand the next day and that Colin Lynch would be suspended for three months. Now remember that this event took place three days before the Munster Council met to discuss the referee's report.

"What it would seem was that a small group within the Munster Council must have met to discuss this. They tried Colin Lynch, found him guilty and delivered a sentence and announced the decision to their friends, a select few, before the meeting took place.

"Now if this happened in a court of law, if a judge had a case coming to court and if he announced the decision that he was going to give before the case came to court, the judge would be disbarred. Why shouldn't those officers pay the same price for not giving due course to the law?

"I've two witnesses that witnessed this and . . . the chairman of the Clare County Board challenged the three priests and then he walked out.

"And what is more, in the Galway hotel where the minor Galway players went directly after the match, the secretary of the Munster Council made exactly the same statements to Frank Burke, secretary of the Galway County Board: Colin Lynch would get three months and (banishment to) the stand for Loughnane. Now, this is two days in advance of the meeting of the Munster Council to even discuss the referee's report. Now, how can you justify that?

"However, it also leads the Munster Council into a suspicion of hypocrisy. All of us were at the Limerick-Cork game. Eamonn Cregan was in and out, up and down the field . . . No manager in recent times has made so many incursions, yet nothing happened.

"Now, I've made incursions on the field. I agree with that. I had to make an incursion the time of the row, to calm things down and get players back hurling because they were there to hurl and it's very easy to get distracted by a row, like Mayo did playing the All-Ireland against Meath.

"The crucial thing after a row - and rows do happen - is to get back to business straight away. You're there to hurl and win the game. So get that to the forefront of your mind and forget about the row.

"Now, which brings me to a bigger question. Has the Munster Council a jurisdiction over Croke Park? This is the big question. Now I know that this is being driven by one individual in the Munster Council - who will remain nameless. To make things worse, this individual . . . I suppose he could be called a Don Corleone of the Munster Council because he stays back in the background . . . his name won't be in any letters . . .

"And he is the man who is leading the witch-hunt against me. It is total and utter hypocrisy what is going on. I should not be banned from Croke Park. I should be banned for the next Munster championship game, not for the All-Ireland semi-final.

"I have stated what is the truth. What did happen. The only reason I haven't mentioned names is because I do not want to involve individuals who are decent people who know this happened as well, but if I mentioned the names I'd have to prove it and bring their names forward - something I'm not willing to do.

"I think the people of Clare - that's why I have said in many of the national media we only owe an explanation to our own supporters, the people of Clare, wherever they are - can see that a grave injustice has been done to Clare both in the media and at Munster Council level.

"And that next Sunday when we're facing one of our more daunting tasks, missing a number of players, say maybe three All Stars (Brian Lohan suspended, Colin Lynch facing suspension and Liam Doyle injured) because you can definitely take it that those three will be out, the three All Stars.

"We have other players who are almost as good as those players. We've a fight on our backs in Croke Park on Sunday. To win we will need the support of every man, woman and child who can possibly travel to Croke Park. Because try as they might, the people of the Munster Council and the people of the media will never, ever break the spirit of Clare, ever.

"We should go back to a more serious offence than either PJ O'Connell committed or Brian Lohan committed (Clare players sent off in the draw and replay). This offence commands a penalty of two months and is the key to all the trouble the second day of the replay. This is the referee's report of the drawn game.

"For all our great investigative reporters all over the country - and we have so many of them now in all the newspapers - the one question they failed to ask was: why were Clare so hyped up for the second game?

"After all, we've played in All-Ireland finals, in All-Ireland semi-finals, we've played against Tipperary in the Munster final when the tension was even higher. Why were Clare so hyped up?

And the key to that is the last sentence of Willie Barrett's report of the first game: `Gerald McCarthy, Waterford, came on to the field and abused the umpire and myself and I booked him'.

"Not alone did Gerald abuse the referee and umpire, but he continually abused Clare players - and we have numerous players who will support that, including myself - and I was so stunned by it because I know Gerald for years. I was so stunned by it, standing there beside him, that I said to him on at least four occasions: `Gerald, will you take it easy?'. He ignored me he was so hyped up."