Sunday 20 October 2019

Offaly forward Nigel Dunne clarifies reports that he was convinced not to leave Portlaoise as fallout from Wicklow defeat continues

Nigel Dunne and Stephen Wallace
Nigel Dunne and Stephen Wallace Newsdesk Newsdesk

Offaly forward Nigel Dunne has said he did not leave O'Moore Park in Portlaoise during their shock defeat to Wicklow after extra time on Sunday.

Reports had suggested that Dunne was convinced not to leave the stadium after there was a heated argument in the Faithful dressingroom at half time.

Offaly's top scorer in the league was visibly angry when he was substituted 28 minutes into the game but reappeared after 53 minutes. He had a penalty saved by Wicklow's Mark Jackson soon afterwards.

In a statement released via his Twittter account, he wrote: "I did not leave O'Moore Park at half time on Sunday and head for my car, sure I came on the team bus. I left the dressingroom to get some air, have a sulk and feel sorry for myself... nothing more!!! I was back on the subs bench as the ref threw up the ball for the start of the second half."

It is being reported that some players have left the panel and manager Stephen Wallace, who watched the game from the stand as part of his recent eight-week suspension, could be removed from his post before Offaly's first round qualifier on June 9.

The Irish Daily Mail are reporting that Offaly GAA chiefs have told the players that they would have the final say on whether Wallace is retained.

They claim that the players will hold a crisis meeting tonight and have been told that Wallace will be removed if a vote of no confidence is carried and a caretaker manager installed.

Former inter-county hurling referee and Offaly native Brian Gavin appeared on RTE 2FM's Game On  last night and said: "The tip of the iceberg was losing Johnny Maloney after the Fermanagh game, I think he has words with some of the management," he told 2fm's Game On.

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"We thought that would be resolved within a week or two, but it wasn’t, which was disappointing. We are after losing 10 of last year’s panel for varying reasons, and losing Johnny was a huge setback.

"The biggest in the year was with Stephen Wallace, our manager, down at a club game in Kerry. It left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth in Offaly when the video footage appeared of that. Stephen then received eight weeks and since then, things haven’t been good in the camp.

"It just escalated to a new level on Sunday which was most unfortunate.

"Things took another twist when the team was named. Rory McNamee, who is a fine footballer from Rhode, had been travelling and is only back in Ireland three weeks. Rory wouldn’t mind me saying this, but it was unbelievable that he started because you had lads training since last November.

"Another fine footballer James Lawlor, who was named originally at wing-back, was told an hour and a half, two hours before the game that he wasn’t starting.

"Nigel Dunne left the ground, but was persuaded to come back. We discovered we had no free-taker. Alan Mulhall had to come up and take some of the frees.

"We bring Nigel back on and within five or six minutes of that then, he missed a penalty. He wasn’t in the right state of mind and no way should he have been brought back on.

"The man-management and the decision making of the management is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Unfortunately I can’t see Stephen Wallace lasting another 24 hours which is unfortunate for everyone.

"It’s embarrassing some of the stuff we are hearing."

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The Throw-In: 'Jim Gavin has achieved what Mick O'Dwyer and Brian Cody couldn't do'

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