Wednesday 15 August 2018

Limerick manager Billy Lee explains why they came close to forfeiting Clare game over 'administrative error'

Limerick manager Billy Lee before the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Limerick and Clare at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Limerick manager Billy Lee before the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Limerick and Clare at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Limerick football manager Billy Lee has revealed how close he came to pulling his team from last night's Munster SFC quarter-final clash with Clare after an administration error robbed him of a player.

The Treaty men were outclassed by their near-neighbours in a 1-24 to 0-14 defeat at the Gaelic Grounds but after the game, Lee explained the turmoil his side had gone through before the ball was thrown in.

Jim Liston's name was due to be among the substitutes but his name was not included on the list submitted to Croke Park during the week and was therefore ineligible to feature.

"Tonight we had a lad who was due to be on the bench," Lee told RTÉ Sport's Marty Morrissey.

"Because of inaccuracies in our administration I couldn't use him. I'd to tell the lad afterwards he couldn't play and he was distraught.

"I wasn't guided about when the team for the match programme had to be in.

Limerick football manager Billy Lee spoke to Marty Morrissey about how a big administrative error pushed him to the brink.

Posted by The Sunday Game on Saturday, May 19, 2018

"I'd to convene a conference call at lunchtime on Wednesday to put some team into the programme or else the programme would have gone with no Limerick team on it.

"The chairman rang me and I said 'okay' and I obliged. We had two players we were trying to get on to the bench, namely Seamie Carroll and Jim Liston. We were training Wednesday night. One of them made it one of them didn't.

"To find out then the wrong team was given in to Croke Park on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, it was the team for the programme.

"It lies with the administrators. The issue with the player on the bench, I can tell people that was handled with ten minutes to go because  I was in a place where I wasn't going to let the team out to play the game.

"We need every help we can get. Three and half hours before a Championship game I got a call saying Jim Liston couldn't play. This is shocking stuff. I had to tell a player Wednesday night that his was name was in the programme but he wasn't in the panel.

"Then I had to turn around to the fella who was on the panel and tell him that he couldn't be part of it because there was an error in administration.

"It's been a trying week. It's so disappointing."

Lee claimed that he came close to forfeiting the game over the debacle.

"I threatened before we left Newcastle that if (Liston) wouldn’t be on the bench then I wouldn’t be in Limerick. I did that, yeah.

"I suppose anyone who’d know me would know the kind of character I am. I’d be fair to people, I’d work with people but when I get my back up I go into the trenches.

"I told the administrators that I wouldn’t be letting the team out.

"The chairman of the football board, the chairman of the county board and the secretary of the football board approached me in the tunnel there and I said, ‘Look lads, is anyone going to sort this out? Make a call to Croke Park'.

"It was an error. It’s frustrating to say the least."

Lee revealed that 53 players had declined an invitation to throw their lot in with the county's footballers but he vowed to continue in his role.

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