All-Ireland club finalist Ger Healion has added to the criticism of Lar Corbett, expressing shock that the Tipperary ace undertook charity work in New York before their recent semi-final.
Corbett was taken to task by Clare legend Ger Loughnane for agreeing to do work in the ravaged New York district of Breezy Point in the build-up to Thurles Sarsfields’ semi-final defeat to Kilcormac-Killoughey.
Former Offaly player Healion was part of the Kilcormac side and questioned, firstly, how Corbett was allowed to make the trip, as well as why he followed through on it himself.
Earlier this week, Tipp and Thurles colleague Padraic Maher jumped to Corbett’s defence and insisted he will answer his critics. The former hurler of the year has been selected on the Munster panel for this weekend’s Interprovincial final.
“Like, what sort of preparation was that for any sort of game?!” gasped Healion.
“I said to myself, ‘I don’t know how a manager could let him go, never mind to let himself go’. It is not the way to be preparing for a game.
“Any flight is going to affect a person for four to five days, your sleep patterns, everything. It was a bit of a shock.”
Full-back Healion was part of a defence that helped hold Corbett scoreless in the Leinster champions’ six-point defeat of favourites Thurles. Healion suggested Corbett’s trip to New York, within a fortnight of the game, was a sign that he may have been taking victory for granted.
“Again, it was their confidence that they thought that they didn’t have to perform that well for us and maybe it showed in the way that they played on the day,” he added.
“It was never mentioned [as motivation] in the dressing room but it was so publicised and didn’t he win the Lotto the same week?! If anything else happened, if there was a dead horse in Thurles, he would have been blamed for it as well because, as he said himself, horses wouldn’t play in some of the conditions that we do.
“Again, I thought he brought an awful lot of publicity on himself that he’d have been better off without.
“I know it’s charity and everything but it’s your first All-Ireland semi-final, which would weigh up more important?”
Interestingly, Healion admitted making a similar mistake himself and regretted it. “I went over to Abu Dhabi [before the Leinster championship] to see my sister and her husband,” he said. “I spent only five days there and I came back [early]. I got back the Thursday before the game and the game was on the Monday. The worst thing was the day we played Mount Leinster Rangers, it was so cold that day, it was absolutely horrible.
“I remember I went to strike a ball at the end and I missed it because my hands were so cold, they were numb.”