Laois senior hurling manager Brendan Fennelly has hit out at GAA bosses, over the timing of his side’s Leinster championship opener against Antrim on Saturday.
“We have five players in the thick of third-level exams at the moment, it’s very unfair to slap a big match like this right in the middle of them,” he said.
“I don’t think they would do this to the likes of Kilkenny or Tipperary. It’s like they (administrators) don’t give a damn about players from weaker counties.”
Fennelly pointed to the example of star player, Willie Hyland, who played a vital role in helping Limerick IT reach the Fitzgibbon Cup final this year.
“Willie is sitting his finals in Limerick at the moment, that’s very serious for him, it’s going to decide his future,” Fennelly said.
“He has exams all through this week and then has more next Monday and Tuesday. In the middle of all of that, he has to try and fit in a big game. To give players that kind of schedule indicates a lack of respect for them.”
The Leinster Council responded by saying that Laois officials were present when this fixture was originally agreed and had made no complaints either then or since.
“This game was originally fixed for next Sunday but Antrim asked us to move it to Saturday because their footballers are playing next day,” said Leinster secretary Michael Delaney.
“Laois footballers are playing the following weekend and, at the time, their officials were keen not to have both senior teams involved because of the possibility of a clash for dual players. Our other preliminary round hurling game (Carlow v Westmeath) was originally due this weekend and was moved back a week but only because both counties agreed to a change and requested it.”