Bitterness lingers as Wexford chief says minor boss had to go

Wexford chairman Diarmuid Devereux has claimed the board has no choice but to remove minor hurling manager Eddie Walsh after he allegedly broke rules and guidelines on player availability.

The board had permitted colleges access to their players up to January — and beyond if necessary — to ease the pressure on the youngsters.

Wexford will have five colleges along with a new combined team in the Leinster Colleges ‘A’ Championship and they were keen to ensure their preparations weren’t disrupted.

However, Devereux said Walsh had not complied with the agreements in place.

“The minor hurling manager broke those guidelines despite the fact that those players 16 to 18 years were training with their colleges. The minor manager had a physical training session last Tuesday night lasting some 90 minutes, while he also called a training session for last Friday night, less than 24 hours before the Combined Colleges were travelling for an important challenge game against Ardscoil Rís, one of the leading colleges sides in the country.

“The manager broke training guidelines last week and has been removed from his post. We were put in a position where parents were beginning to complain of the demands, with many fearing it would damage their Leaving Certificate preparations.”

Devereux added that the model of making players exclusively available to their colleges up to January is one replicated in Waterford, Limerick and Dublin.

However, Walsh hit back and claimed he had accepted the position from Devereux on the premise there would be no interference.

“I feel let down by Diarmuid Devereux and the County Management Committee. There were outside influences wanting to put an inexperienced man into the job. That’s what worried me. It set alarm bells off for me. Diarmuid Devereux gave me the job. When he offered me the job, I took a week to consider it. I took it on the condition there would be no interference.

“Later Diarmuid Devereux told me the Combined Colleges had taken precedence over the county minor hurling team. If I had been told this would be the scenario before I took the job, I would not have taken it.

“To compound matters, they put the man over the Combined Colleges who was turned down for the minor job. That created a minefield.”

Walsh also insists he was given the green light for training by another county board official.

“Bobby Goff (Coiste na nÓg Chairman) rang me a couple of weeks ago to meet him in Wexford Park. He told me to go ahead with training. I went ahead with training.

“At a Coiste meeting in New Ross he (Goff) confirmed with John O’Connor that minor training was going ahead. On Sunday morning we had an outstanding training session.

“I informed Marian Doyle the underage secretary I was switching training to Tuesday evening so as not to clash with the minor footballers on a Sunday morning.

“On the Tuesday morning I started to get phone calls saying Donal Howlin had been in touch with colleges informing players not to attend as the Combined Colleges had precedence.

“Bobby Goff rang me and it was a agreed to have a meeting. The meeting was switched to Friday evening but on that morning I received a call from him telling me my position was untenable.

“I had earlier smelt a rat and had a resignation letter written the previous evening to hand into the Coiste office. The real sufferers in this is Wexford hurling and the young players.

“Perhaps my face did not fit in with certain people who are still seeking to have their man in.”

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