Dublin and Wexford players have insisted they did not train on their recent trips to France and Portugal respectively.
Speaking at separate media events yesterday, Ciarán Kilkenny and Michael Darragh Macauley explained their visit to northern France last weekend was an educational excursion.
Wexford joint-captain Lee Chin, speaking at the same gig as Kilkenny, said their players’ visit to Portugal was one which had been organised by themselves.
Had both been training camps, both county panels would run the risk of losing home advantage for their first Allianz League game next year as a rule states they can’t go on such away trips.
Rule 6.22 (b) of the GAA’s Official Guide states that “senior inter-county panels shall not be permitted to go on training weekends, or training of longer duration, after the final of their respective National League having been played, except during the 10 days period prior to a senior Championship game, or during the 17 days prior to an All-Ireland senior final”.
As reported by the Irish Examiner last week, the Wexford hurlers are one of a number of counties who are being audited for potential breaches of the rule.
But Chin was adamant that they did nothing wrong.
He insisted: “No, we didn’t (train). We went out and we decided that we just wanted to relax in each other’s company and that’s what we went out and did. We did not train once out there.”
Chin accepted his comments were contrary to what has been portrayed in the media.
“We decided to go off together and have a bit of fun in each other’s company because we hadn’t been around each other the last couple of weeks.
“We couldn’t help but laugh at it (the perception that it was a training camp). I even remember a couple of years back, not even a couple of years back, it was last year, a few of us decided to head off to… we decided we wanted to go away to Ibiza on a trip together as a group of friends and that was all over the media then as well, that we weren’t around for the club football championship in Wexford.
Last Saturday, the Dublin panel visited a World War I memorial site, the Ulster Tower, Thiepval, close to Amiens, where captain Stephen Cluxton lay a blue and navy wreath.
Kilkenny stated it was more an experience than anything else.
“No, there wasn’t any training at all really to the trip. More so it was going around and visiting these different places.
“We would have been back training with the team the week previous to that and we’re back this week then as well. Four weeks leading into that there were club games which were really enjoyable.”
Macauley gave his interpretation of it: “We were over paying respects to the Irish who fought in World War I. It’s different from the training we do on a normal Thursday night but yeah, it was an interesting experience.
“It was something that I never would have had the opportunity to do, to have a firsthand account of the kind of World War I experience and to have your eyes open to how many Irish were involved over there.”
Kilkenny mentioned the late Dublin chairman Andy Kettle’s grand-uncle Tom fought and died in France.
“You see a lot of the people involved, a part of history that would have been forgotten, maybe. To see what happened, the different memorials and the different nations and all the Irishmen that would have fought.”
Macauley said it would have given players something fresh to consider.
“Some lads might use it for motivation but I think it was more of an educational trip to bring us more together.”
Sure, Official Statistics Partner of the GAA, with the help of ambassadors, Wexford hurler Lee Chin and Dublin Footballer Ciaran Kilkenny, has announced the most comprehensive ever season of GAA statistics with new technology, more stats and greater analysis than ever before.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved