Former Galway manager Tim Rabbitt is “deeply hurt” by the accusation of the LGFA's Helen O’Rourke that he attempted to “destroy the integrity of the Association”.
In her annual report ahead of Congress this weekend, LGFA CEO O’Rourke took issue with comments made by Rabbitt in the aftermath of Galway’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Cork on December 6.
The fixture was overshadowed by a venue change six days before the game and a second venue change on the morning of the game, as well as the throw-in time being brought forward by half an hour on the morning of the fixture.
Rabbitt remarked afterwards that “the ladies game is probably one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, but we don’t seem to have the officialdom in the Association that can keep pace with it and to bring the professionalism that is required”.
Reflecting on the semi-final, O’Rourke wrote in her annual report: “The Galway manager was particularly aggrieved in his post-match comments and his dealings with the media over the coming days, by not having enough time available to them to warm up.”
Further on in her report, she added: “It is regrettable that a manager who was so gracious earlier in the day for the efforts that were made to have the game played and who had his requests for additional time met would then turn and try to destroy the integrity of the Association and the people involved after the game.”
Rabbitt has told thehe is “extremely disappointed” to be dragged back into the controversy surrounding last year’s All-Ireland semi-final. He said the Galway players still have not received the apology they deserve from the LGFA.
Galway were afforded seven minutes to conduct their warm-up prior to the semi-final getting underway.
“I am deeply hurt by the comment made by the CEO in her report. At all times, my concern has and will always be what is best for the players," said Rabbitt, when contacted.
“I know that the LGFA is a progressive organisation that is working hard to promote the ladies' game, however, this does not mean that they are above criticism when expected standards of competition are not met. The players are the most important part of the organisation.
“The fact is the preparation for the All-Ireland semi-final was not in keeping with the stature of an All-Ireland semi-final and worthy of the efforts the players had put in over the previous months. As I said at that time, this would not happen in the men's game and if we are truly seeking equality and 'a level playing field' we should not accept it in the ladies' game.
“The LGFA is an organisation I am proud to be a member of and although I am no longer the manager of the Galway team, I will continue to be involved wherever I can assist a team.
“I wish to state that at no time has any member of the LGFA organisation including the president contacted me since the All-Ireland semi-final to speak to me about the events on the day. The Galway players have not yet received the apology that they deserve. If lessons are to be truly learnt, let's start there.”