Down GAA hit out at "vile and unfair commentary" around player unrest speculation

GAA officials in county Down have tonight issued a strong rebuttal to claims of player unrest, claiming “vile and unfair commentary and misrepresentation on radio, in printed media and on social media.”

In a statement to clubs in the county, officials said they had taken a decision to share their thoughts and place facts on the table regarding players that have left the Mourne football panel.

“In the aftermath of the defeat to Clare in the Allianz League, some within the media reported that a number of players had walked away from the county panel in the build-up to the game and that a number of players would not be attending training after the defeat. The facts however do not support this. From an original panel of 38 players, three have left the panel in the January/February period.

"(i) Ryan Mallon left the panel on Saturday, 21 January as he felt he was unable to commit to the county team due to his studies. He met with Eamonn Burns and the situation was accepted amicably.

"(ii) Gary McMahon decided to leave a week later as he felt that his match time with the team would be limited. Again, the discussion and decision were amicable, as Gary offered to help out at any stage if either of the two other goalkeepers were to become unavailable.

“(iii) The only other player to leave the panel was Damian Turley. Any reference to others leaving the panel is inaccurate.

“(iv) The players are working hard and they have been strengthened by the recent return of Niall McParland for teaching practice. The management retain the right to add to the panel at any stage in the future. Their focus is on the next game.

The statement  added: “It was also reported by some in the media that there had been a row/argument at half time in Clare between the team manager and a county official (as the official on duty, the County Secretary was the only officer in contact with the management at half time).

"This is entirely inaccurate. At half time the County Secretary asked the team management if there were any interval changes planned, as the paperwork could be provided to the referee in advance of the second half. This was the extent of the conversation that took place."

It concluded: “There were players who did not return home with the team from Clare, but that issue was dealt with and settled by team management at training on the Tuesday night after the game."

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