Sligo secretary Gerry O’Connor has brushed off Eamonn O’Hara’s criticism of Kevin Walsh as “kneejerk” and claimed his comments were consistent with having a personality clash with the manager.
O’Hara claimed on The Sunday Game following the county’s surprise defeat to London that Walsh had wanted to take over Roscommon and called on him to resign. O’Connor insisted the Galway native will be in charge for their first round qualifier, but understands this to be his final year.
However, he acknowledged the defeat was a damaging one for the Galway native, but rejected the majority of O’Hara’s criticisms of both Walsh and the county board.
“That is Eamonn O’Hara’s opinion and it is obvious there is a personality clash or spleen between him and the manager, but Kevin Walsh will be leading Sligo in the qualifiers.
“It is very easy to be critical at times like this but what’s forgotten is that London have been threatening to pull off a result like this for quite some time.
“It is important to remember that Kevin Walsh brought us to two Connacht finals and from Division 4 to Division 2 of the NFL.
“Eamonn is a commentator and he is paid for his comments, but that is just his opinion.”
O’Hara quit the county side earlier this year after being deemed surplus to requirements having not made himself available for early season preparations. O’Connor denied the 2002 All Star’s claim the board was divided and explained why the centre of excellence had not yet been open.
“There are no major splits in the county board and the reason we have not opened the Centre of Excellence us that we still owe some money to a contractor. And our priority is dealing with that situation.”
Yesterday, Walsh’s former All-Ireland-winning team-mate Padraic Joyce jumped to his defence on Twitter.
“He had big fall out with big Kevin that’s why he packed up......!! He was getting little bit of revenge last night.”
He also questioned why O’Hara would criticise a double All-Ireland winner.
On RTÉ Radio One, Óisín McConville said O’Hara had a personal axe to grind. He added: “One of the points he made that I found strange was that the team went back training in November. Every team goes back training in November unless you win an All-Ireland or get to an All-Ireland final.
“From that point of view, I’m not surprised that Kevin wanted that sort of commitment really, really early on and the fact that Eamonn couldn’t give it, obviously Kevin asked him to step aside.”
McConville’s old Armagh team-mate Stevie McDonnell tweeted: “Reputations are being ruined each week on the Sunday Game. Match analysis is being brought to a whole new level. Sky Sports have it right.”
Tyrone’s Philip Jordan wrote: “RTÉ need to do something about the Sunday Game analysts. Brolly’s rant about PG [Paul Grimley] last week was bad but O’Hara was a disgrace last nite.”
However, Leitrim’s Emlyn Mulligan backed O’Hara. “Thought O’Hara’s comments were fair, some stating it was a “personal attack”. How? He didn’t criticise Kevin Walsh, as a man, in any way. He criticised his management record in recent years and his training tactics etc. O’Hara was perfectly entitled to do so.”
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