Clare GAA has given its full backing to hurling manager Brian Lohan as the fallout from last week's league meeting with Wexford continues.
Following Sunday's Allianz Hurling League win over Laois, Lohan claimed two members of his squad had been nominated as close contacts by the contingent among the Wexford panel who'd tested positive for COVID-19.
Two members of the Clare panel were stood down from action at the weekend as a result.
"It was very unusual for us to hear that two of our players were nominated by two Wexford players as close contacts," Lohan told RTÉ after the game at O'Moore Park.
Wexford GAA chairman Micheál Martin had sought a retraction of Lohan's comments on Monday, telling South East Radio they were "outrageous" and "damaging".
The GAA's director of player, club, and games administration Feargal McGill weighed in on the matter on Tuesday, saying, "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."
But Clare say that HSE decision was informed by discussions with Wexford.
"The HSE informed Brian Lohan that 2 players were identified on foot of discussions between the contact tracing team of the HSE and the Wexford players involved who were positive cases," they outlined in a statement published by Clare FM.
"The HSE did confirm that for one of the players, they were identified, not by name but were identified 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."
Clare say Lohan stands by his comments and they, in turn, stand by their manager.
Clare GAA statement:
The HSE designated the 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 Mid-West 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 identification of 2 senior hurlers as close contacts. The HSE informed Brian Lohan that 2 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 for one of the players, they were identified, not by name but were identified 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 Inter County Teams regarding close contacts v 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.