The Limerick hurling dispute has taken another twist with the decision of Tom Condon, Dinny Moloney, Gavin O’Mahony and Stephen Walsh to quit the squad as a result of the ongoing row with manager Justin McCarthy.
The four quit last week just days after the Limerick County Board backed McCarthy’s decision to ax several senior players from his squad for the 2010 season.
McCarthy dropped 12 regular members of last season’s squad, but a further 12 have now quit in protest.
The GAA authorities want to see the problems in Limerick resolved as soon as possible. “We’d hope that it’s settled before the start of the league,” said chief executive Paraic Duffy.
“We don’t want a situation again where teams, a county, would obviously be fielding a weakened team. That doesn’t help the league.
“But, for the moment, we’re still only in early January. For the moment we’ll leave it with Limerick and see what develops. This is a matter for Limerick.
“Christy Cooney spoke with Limerick earlier this week but in terms of getting involved, no, it’s something we’re very reluctant to do.”
Armagh legend Oisin McConville has distanced himself from rumors about an inter-county return this season.
“I don’t know where those reports came from,” McConville said. “I can say 100% I will not be going back to play for Armagh. My fitness levels would not be up to where the young fellas in the panel would be at.
“I have been doing a lot of pre-season training, but I am not up to the standard required where I would be 100% ready to go back to the panel.
“I think it would be a backward step for me and a backward step for Armagh because the young fellas that are there can do the job.”
THE GAA are to consider putting player’s names on the back of their shirts to help referees with identifying players after the compulsory introduction of helmets in all hurling games.
“Going forward it’s something we might look at,” chief executive Paraic Duffy told the Examiner. “At the moment our primary concern is to get everyone wearing a helmet, that’s our first goal. Marketing the games comes after that.
“But it is a valid point. It’s been an issue for quite a long time that hurlers are not as easily recognizable as footballers.”
Dessie Dolan looks to have played his last game for Westmeath after declining an invitation from new manager Brendan Hackett to join the squad for pre-season training.
Dolan is apparently annoyed that his father Dessie Sr. was overlooked for the county job when Hackett was appointed last summer.
“He hasn’t been involved and if a player does not make himself available, there’s not much you can do,” said Hackett. “You are better off concentrating on the players you do have available rather than the ones who aren’t.”