'They're not getting out of here until 10.30. Have to report for work tomorrow' - Kearns says integrity of O'Byrne Cup has been shot
The integrity of this year's O'Byrne Cup is in tatters, as far as Offaly manager Liam Kearns is concerned.
Pre-season competitions like the O'Byrne Cup and the McKenna Cup have always sparked debate. This year more than ever.
The fact that they clash with the college GAA scene is a huge sticking point, as it can lead to fixture clashes and pile-ups. For example, Kerry duo Tony Brosnan and Jack Savage played a Sigerson Cup match one afternoon last year, before travelling to play a McGrath Cup game that night.
Situations like that aren't ideal but they are commonplace, and it's been more of the same this year.
Offaly defeated Dublin in Parnell Park last night, their first time to do so in any senior football competition since 2000 but for their manager Liam Kearns, the victory has been tainted to some extent.
That's because, with Louth having given Wexford a walkover in their clash that was due to take place on Wednesday night, it means that, ahead of their semi-final this weekend, Louth have had much more recovery time than Offaly.
“To be honest with you, am I wouldn’t mind dropping out of the competition now at this stage,” Kearns told GAA streaming site Clubber after the game.
“We’ve had two hard games in four days and they’re putting us out again in a third game in eight days, and our opponents have been sitting at home for the whole week.
“They withdrew from a competition here, they didn’t fulfil their last fixture. That’s the integrity of the competition shot as far as I’m concerned. If you enter a competition, you should have to fulfil your fixtures," added the Kerryman.
"That's the integrity of the competition shot as far as I'm concerned!"😤
Offaly GAA boss Liam Kearns launches scathing attack on prospective semi final opponents Louth in an EXPLOSIVE interview following their victory over Dublin earlier tonight.💣
Full interview on Instagram. pic.twitter.com/Oi6tau9AQm
— Clubber (@clubber) January 11, 2023
“They’ve had a week of rest and we’ve had a really hard game here and four days later we’re supposed to go out and play them now, and I believe it’s supposed to be on in Louth as well.
“So look, as far as I’m concerned, no it’s a game too much for us. That’s being honest.”
Kildare gave Westmeath a walk-over also on account of being 'unable to field' for their corresponding fixture on Wednesday, with both teams having been already out of the competition.
"They're shoe-horning games into January," added Kearns. We've a load of guys playing Sigerson, and a load of guys trying to play the pre-season competitions too. The reality is, they're not going to get out of here until 10.30. Might have a quick bite to eat, then they've got to make their way home, and report for work tomorrow.
"The integrity of the competition is everybody should be treated the same. That means now, that all the advantages are with Louth...We've picked up two or three fairly bad injuries here tonight and you know, we're now going to force out tired bodies for a third game in eight days. Wrong in my opinion."