‘I CALLED IT’

‘It was my decision,’ says Under-21 manager Leo O’Connor after failed goal effort in dying minutes of the All Ireland semi-final

‘It was my decision,’ says Under-21 manager Leo O’Connor after failed goal effort in dying minutes of the All Ireland semi-final

LIMERICK Under-21 hurling manager Leo O’Connor has clarified that it was his decision to try for a goal from a 30-metre free during the opening minute of injury time in last Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

With Limerick chasing a late fightback in Semple Stadium, Shane Dowling tried for a goal from 30-metres, when perhaps a point could have set the stage for a grandstand finish in Thurles.

In the immediate aftermatch of the two-point defeat to Galway, O’Connor told members of the media: “We let players make up their own mind”.

However, O’Connor’s comments angered members of Dowling’s Na Piarsaigh club, who claimed that the teenage free taker tried for a goal on instruction from management.

This Tuesday a club official from Na Piarsaigh GAA club was prepared to speak to the Limerick Leader and express their disappointment in defence of their player.

LeaderSport then offered an opportunity to Limerick U-21 manager Leo O’Connor to clarify his comments on the events surrounding the injury time free.

Later that evening solicitor John Herbert issued a statement to the Leader on behalf of Leo O’Connor.

“It was my call, I stand over it, Shane Dowling followed my instruction, I cannot be any more clear on the matter,” read the final line of the statement, issued on behalf of O’Connor.

It began: “Due to some unpleasantness that has arisen I want to put on the record in the clearest possible terms the following, during the U-21 All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Limerick and Galway on Saturday evening August 20 Limerick were awarded a free some 30-25 yards from the Galway goal. This occurred 45 seconds into injury time. The referee ordered the free be brought forward a further 10 yards following dissension from the Galway players. The free was now 25 yards from the Galway goal”.

“Initially we [the U-21 management team] instructed Shane Dowling (the free taker) to take a point. I then asked the linesman what time was left in the game. I was told there will be one more puck out. On hearing this I issued new instructions to Shane which were to go for a goal,” outlined the statement from Herbert & Co solicitors.