OUSTED Wexford minor hurling manager Eddie Walsh has called on county chairman Diarmuid Devereux to step aside and asked Croke Park to investigate the circumstances which led to his dramatic removal.
The Faythe Harriers man said he was particularly hurt because he has always prided himself on taking care of the welfare of teenage players.
He was particularly shocked to have been deposed because he had not put himself forward for the job but was actively recruited by the board.
Walsh said he had initially agreed -- in a meeting with the chairman -- not to start training the county minors until January 1 because so many of them are competing in Leinster schools 'A' hurling this season with Good Counsel, St Peter's and a new 'Combined' Wexford schools' team.
But he alleged that, on November 25, he subsequently got the go-ahead from Coiste na nOg chairman Bobby Goff to begin training and only then set out a schedule of twice-weekly sessions which began last weekend.
Last night Goff confirmed that meeting took place but said that they had agreed that training could begin only for players who were not playing for their colleges or had left school.
Wexford's first Leinster MHC game is not until April 12, but Walsh told the Irish Independent that he felt they needed to start training because most counties are already openly flouting winter training bans.
"It's happening at senior level, it's happening at U-21 level and it's happening at minor level, all around the country," he said, alleging that some counties are currently training their minor teams under the guise of 'development squads'.
"I know these lads are playing plenty of hurling, what I wanted to do was some strength and conditioning, which every county is doing now at this level," he said. "I wouldn't be doing it if there was a level playing pitch, but everybody knows that counties are all breaking these training rules."
Walsh said he was upset to have been 'sacked' given that Devereux did not speak with him or give him a chance to explain his actions.
"I don't know how you can 'sack' a man who is an amateur volunteer," he said. "I stand on my record here regards coaching and I've never looked for a shilling for anything I've ever done for the GAA. This whole thing of 'burnout' is a red herring."
Walsh denied that he had threatened players that if they didn't come to training last Friday, they would not be eligible for selection. He was informed of the decision on the phone by Goff after unsuccessfully attempting to meet Devereux and the board.
"To say that I was 'sacked' is a scandalous thing to happen to an amateur volunteer. The chairman needs to step aside now and Croke Park needs to come down and investigate what happened and decide what is for the good of Wexford GAA," he said. Devereux has said he was left with no option but to remove Walsh because parents complained about the training demands he made on players.
The only training sessions that Walsh held were on Sunday and Tuesday last, but his planned schedule was for training on Friday and Sunday.