Lee: We’re beginning to fall away from our ethos

Billy Lee, Limerick Manager.

Limerick manager Billy Lee has blasted GAA chiefs for their treatment of teams in Division 4.

A round of Division 4 matches, postponed due to the poor weather earlier this month, may not now be played as they did not have any impact on promotion battle.

Lee feels that the decision is an insult to those trying to develop and grow the game in the basement tier.

“Croke Park might not want to say it but the reality is money is ruling the world and it’s certainly ruling the GAA at the moment,” said Lee.

I think we are beginning to fall away from our ethos a small bit. We have to realise that we are an amateur organisation.

“Having said that, 30 years ago the same top teams are the ones that are there now. The difference is that the smaller counties are making more effort than they did in the past to try and become competitive and if that’s lost in the middle of it, an awful lot of county boards are going to come under pressure financially and that wouldn’t be right.

“There is a lot of money and investment going into underage in Limerick and it’s all trying to make us more competitive.

“So if we are going to be forgotten about along the way... the GAA needs to make a call.

“Administrators and lots of other people around the country are working hard to try and raise funds to help people and we have to be respectful of that. If the leadership at the top isn’t there to respect that then I would question that leadership.

I’m putting it out there again. We have got to be mindful and respectful or we are going to put a lot of county boards under pressure.

Lee paid tribute to the league as a competition, saying it gives players a chance to play at their own level. “Yes, everyone wants to challenge themselves against the best in the country and that’s afforded there as well.

“The league is so competitive now I’d question if there was a need for the qualifiers. I think it’s something we can look at.”

Lee is in his second season as Limerick senior manager and also gave an insight into the struggles that he has ahead during this campaign. “The biggest disappointment from this league was the amount of people that didn’t feel that they should represent us as a county.

“We used 32 players in the league this year and around 40% of them are new players. I looked at last year’s U21s against Tipperary and we asked 14 of those lads to come in this year. That’s a massive amount of people from one team to come in. Seven of them took it up and seven didn’t. That will give people a sense of where we are at.”

Limerick were defeated 0-12 to 1-13 by Antrim in Newcastle West on Sunday, whose boss, Lenny Harbinson, shared some of Lee’s frustrations.

“It makes our leagues farcical,” said Harbinson. “It’s ridiculous. What’s the point in putting a fixture list out there and then ignoring your own fixture list?”

Waterford football boss Tom McGlinchey was also furious as the CCCC confirmed Waterford v Leitrim, Wicklow v Limerick and Laois v Antrim won’t be rescheduled.

Once again the GAA hierarchy is showing total disrespect and disregard for the lower division teams, McGlinchey claimed last night. It worries me the direction that the GAA is taking. It really is heading towards looking after the elite.

McGlinchey is frustrated that the competition won’t be completed. “It is something I feel strongly about and if I stay silent then nothing will happen. I know the other managers feel the same way.”

Waterford, who secured their first victory in 407 days away to London on Sunday, have an eight-week lay-off until their championship opener against Tipperary.

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