Sport

Tuesday 20 November 2018

All-Ireland hero Griffin in Wexford minor snub

CLIONA FOLEY

WEXFORD officials have been accused of snubbing Liam Griffin, the man who led Wexford out of their 28-year hurling wilderness to their sensational 1996 All-Ireland senior hurling victory.

WEXFORD officials have been accused of snubbing Liam Griffin, the man who led Wexford out of their 28-year hurling wilderness to their sensational 1996 All-Ireland senior hurling victory.

Local hurling supporters have been shocked to learn that Griffin didn't get the county minor manager's job, despite expressing serious interest in it.

Griffin has remained closely involved with underage hurling since stepping down as senior manager after their All-Ireland success.

EXTREMELY ACTIVE

He continues to be extremely active in working with juveniles at his club St Mary's Rosslare and has also worked with the county minors for the past two years, at first as an advisor and then, last season, as their official trainer.

The man who memorably coined the phrase `Hurling is the Riverdance of sport' was among several people interviewed by a special committee of the Wexford Bord na nÓg, which was set-up to find a new county minor manager.

He was given the proviso that he would have to work with selectors chosen by the committee, something which goes directly against normal practice locally.

County senior managers Joachim Kelly (hurling) and Ger Halligan (football) were both allowed to pick their own selectors.

While Griffin expressed some disquiet about this, he was still interested in taking the job but the committee subsequently gave the job to Eddie McDonald of the St Martin's club.

But when Coiste na nÓg met to ratify their minor selectors late last week, serious questions were asked from the floor about Griffin's treatment.

Griffin's club colleague Noel Goff refuted rumours that Griffin had not been interested, putting it on the record that the Rosslare man had wanted the job.

He questioned why someone of Griffin's proven record and dedication should have had to go before an interview committee and said it was unlikely that Ger Loughnane or Jimmy Barry Murphy would have to do the same thing if they showed an interest in managing their respective county minors.

Griffin himself has been unavailable for comment and is understood to want to avoid any controversy, but his treatment has inevitably sparked off just that.

In other management news, former Tipperary and Munster footballer Colm O'Flaherty has been named manager of the Tipperary football team.

The Cahir-based teacher was a selector last year and takes over from former Laois star Colm Browne who stood down because of study commitments.

O'Flaherty has been acting manager since Browne stepped down and his appointment is a timely one, with Tipperary facing Fermanagh in an All-Ireland B semi-final on Saturday.

Tipperary will be without Allstar Declan Browne and Eamonn Hanrahan, both of whom are club-tied.

And former Clare hurler Fergus Flynn, who defected to Galway last season and played a key role for them in the All-Ireland championship, is on his way back to the Banner.

It's a dramatic u-turn for the former Eire Óg (Ennis) star who changed his club allegiance last year to Abbey-Duniry, the Galway team managed by county boss Mattie Murphy.

EARNED PLACE

Flynn quickly earned a place in the Galway senior side, playing mostly at centre-back while they progressed to the NHL final.

He was at midfield in the All-Ireland championship, when he had the unenviable task of facing his former clubmate Colin Lynch in the two brilliant All-Ireland quarter-final matches between Clare and Galway.

He actually played for Connacht in the Railway Cup semi-final a fortnight ago but was a noticeable absentee when their side to meet Munster in Sunday's interprovincial final was announced earlier this week.

Now it has emerged that he had already informed officials at Eire Óg in his native Ennis that he wanted to return home and will be applying for an inter-county transfer.

That means he will probably be free to play for his native club and Clare again in the New Year.

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