Clare GAA have voiced their support of Senior Hurling manager Brian Lohan following comments he made regarding two of his players being identified as close contacts after their fixture against Wexford on May 16th.
Lohan's remarks came after the Banner's victory over Laois on Sunday, calling it "unusual" that two of his players were identified as close contacts after two Wexford players tested positive.
Lohan called for the rules to be clarified, stating his team had followed protocols to ensure players would be deemed 'casual contacts' rather than close contacts if such a situation arose.
The Clare manager's remarks were met with anger from Wexford, with county board chairman Micheál Martin branding them 'ill-informed" and "outrageous".
Martin said it was the HSE's decision to designate the two Clare players as close contacts, adding "at no time did Wexford GAA or players of Wexford nominate close contacts". Martin also called for Lohan to retract his remarks.
However, Clare GAA has since released a statement in support of Lohan, questioning the process by which the county's two player were deemed close contacts.
As reported by the Irish Examiner, the statement says the HSE's function to designate close contacts was "never disputed", adding: "Brian Lohan as manager of the Clare team contacted the HSE locally when he was informed of the identification of 2 senior hurlers as close contacts.
"The HSE informed Brian Lohan that 2 players were identified on foot of discussions between the contact tracing team of the HSE and the Wexford players involved who were positive cases."
"The HSE did confirm that for one of the players, they were identified, not by name but were identified by the colour of their helmet," the statement adds.
"This has led to two players having to self-isolate and if this process continues without clear clarification regarding close and casual contact from Croke Park it will have ramifications for the season ahead for club and county games."
The statement goes on to quote the GAA's Return to Training and Play guidelines, stating the situations which would cause someone to be identified as a close contact of a positive case rather than a casual contact.
These situations include travelling together, use of the same gym or dressing rooms, and pre/post-match/training meals. Clare GAA added: "None of the above refer to onfield playing activity," thereby questioning how the Clare players were deemed close contacts.
The statement says Clare GAA has contacted Croke Park regarding the matter, and "will be making further representation through the GPA".
"To conclude, Clare GAA stand fully by the comments issued by the Clare senior hurling manager," the release adds.