Leahy was unveiled as the Premier County’s new ladies football supremo earlier this year in a blaze of publicity. But after meeting with a number of players to discuss their views on training associated issues, the former All-Ireland SHC medallist decided to drop five of the squad’s most influential stars.
Mairead Morrissey, vice-captain Jennifer Grant, Kelly Hackett and Samantha Lambert were let go last week, after Patricia Hickey was dropped recently. But Leahy faces a major problem ahead of the Ladies NFL Division 3 semi-final against Armagh on April 27 as the vast majority of Tipp’s other players boycotted a training session last week in support of the axed quintet.
It is understood just five players attended training in Bansha after Leahy informed Morrissey, Grant, Hackett and Lambert by telephone that they were dropped.
Morrissey was a 2013 All Star nominee and Grant recently starred on the University of Limerick team that stormed to O’Connor Cup glory.
A source has revealed that a group of senior players, led by captain Barbara Ryan and Grant, asked to meet with Leahy recently to discuss the running of the team. He was presented with positive feedback but concerns were also expressed about the quality of training sessions. Leahy then telephoned those players last Monday to inform them that they were dropped from his squad.
Ladies football board officials in Tipperary will now come under pressure to issue a response following these revelations – and were due to meet last night. And with public sentiment very much in favour of the players, Leahy now finds himself in an unenviable position ahead of the crunch showdown with Armagh.
All five players who have been dropped featured in last year’s TG4 All-Ireland intermediate final against Cavan and Tipp had targeted promotion from Division 3 of the Tesco Homegrown League this year.
But as things stand, those chances appear to have been fatally damaged as the five players involved in this standoff are widely regarded as leaders within the group.