Limerick club hurling boss hits out at betting allegations

THE manager of Emmets senior hurling team has hit out at rumours of a betting plot behind his side’s 28-point collapse at the hands of Adare on Sunday last.

THE manager of Emmets senior hurling team has hit out at rumours of a betting plot behind his side’s 28-point collapse at the hands of Adare on Sunday last.

This Wednesday, Fintan Leahy rubbished the rumours that have circulated across the county since the divisional side’s bizarre encounter with Adare when they started the championship tie without the full complement of 15 players.

They eventually did get a full team on the field but they were beaten by 5-19 to 0-6, a result that allowed Adare through to the quarter-finals on scoring difference ahead of Bruree.

“That is a stupid rumour - ridiculous in the extreme,” Leahy said.

“That is insulting to the players,” said the Emmets manager.

Leahy accepted that there were “organisation problems” surrounding preparations for last Sunday’s game but asserted that the South Limerick amalgamation were “fully committed” to the Limerick’s Live 95FM sponsored county senior hurling championship.

Most of the Emmets players had been involved in crucial intermediate games with their club earlier in the weekend and with Emmets already certain of a knockout place in the senior championship, Sunday’s game was something of a dead fixture for them.

“We were up against it with so many players involved in an amount of vital games for their clubs - it’s unfair on the players to be asked to play these games and we know that it was unfair on Bruree and Granagh-Ballingarry,” explained Leahy.

“It was unfair on the other teams - in rounds one and two it was ok but for the final round there was so much at stake for everyone,” he outlined.

He rejected any claims that Emmets were not interested in the clash with Adare.

“I would never dream to try and pull a stroke,” said Leahy.

“We knew we had qualified but I can say that I never put a team out not to win a game - we wanted to do our best but we were completely hindered. There were do-or-die games for their clubs at the weekend and the players were just shattered afterwards - all we did was fulfil a fixture and that was not a true reflection of our ability,” outlined Leahy.

“Either they want a divisional side or they don’t . We only want to try and promote hurling. There was a problem with our organisation on the day but we did our best to get a team out. We started with 13 players.

“I see in the Olympics that if a horse is any way injured that are not allowed to carry on - well we had eight injuries and some players had to play with injuries,” he said.

“Every week of the summer we hear inter-county managers giving out about the six day turnaround in the qualifiers, well we would love six days - we have to think about the well-being of the players,” he said.

A mid-week fixture the week after all other games is the solution, according to the Emmets manager.

“This brings it to a head,” he said of last Sunday.

“We are completely committed - we have been one of the most consistent teams for the last four years but you can only go to the well so often. Something has to be done - the South Board are blue in the face from saying it. A horse wouldn’t be treated like this - player welfare has to come into it.”

However, it now appears that Emmets could have the same problem ahead of the championship quarter-final.

They are scheduled to play Garryspillane on Sunday evening August 26 in Kilmallock’s Fitzgerald Park.

The previous night Dromin-Athlacca and Blackrock play in the intermediate quarter-finals, while Glenroe are in relegation action on the Friday night.

“I am extremely disappointed again to see that fixture. All we are looking for from the County Board is some co-operation,” said Leahy.

“We could have the same situation again if we were to have eight players injured in those games. We really could have a problem fulfilling the fixture,” he sighed.

“They seem to be able to manage divisional teams down in Cork but we can’t. We have to think about the well-being of our players and with these fixtures they are being put in an impossible situation.”

He said that his players were “devastated” after the one-sided display against Adare.

“They explained to me that they peaked for club games on Friday and Saturday and were physically drained afterwards. On Sunday with us they were gutted after 10 minutes,” explained Leahy.

“We can only appeal to common sense again and know that the South Board will be discussing this at a meeting. We either want divisional teams or we don’t. All we want is an opportunity to play and I think that the records show we have performed well down the years and that it has been good for our clubs with Blackrock and Effin winning the county junior championship and Hospital-Herbertstown and Effin winning the intermediate title.”