A summer which delivered so much for the Westmeath minor hurling team is ending in highly controversial circumstances.
Manager Johnny Greville steered Westmeath into a Leinster semi-final which was a remarkable achievement. Westmeath won’t compete in an All-Ireland B competition now because Greville claimed that they “don’t have jerseys to play in”.
The following response was issued by Westmeath GAA: “Westmeath GAA would like to take this opportunity to clarify matters as the items discussed on Twitter contain inaccuracies which require correction. Westmeath GAA are very pleased with the progress made by Westmeath Minor Hurlers this year under the stewardship of Johnny Greville who has brought a new dimension of professionalism to the preparation of the team. All of us were naturally disappointed that our team exited the Leinster Championship at the semi-final stage, but we do know that the base for progress is through the highest grade of championship proper.
“To that extent, Westmeath GAA did not enter a Minor team in this year’s B Championship and this matter was discussed thoroughly through County Management Commitee and the decision communicated accordingly. Hence the question of us pulling out of a Championship that we did not enter is disingenuous and we are very disappointed with the manner in which this has arisen in the media through Twitter today (Tuesday ).
“We appreciate that people become passionate about matters in which they believe strongly in but we do expect everyone to have their facts correct.
“In relation to the matter of jerseys and appropriate gear for the minor team and for all of our teams in both Hurling and Football, Westmeath GAA do, like all our fellow County committees, endeavour to fully support all the players who don our county colours.
“Certainly after the Leinster Minor Hurling semi final, a set of jerseys went missing which was unacceptable. There has to be pride in wearing one’s colours and we expect all players who represent Westmeath to have the pride in them to retain their colours at all times.”
Following the Westmeath GAA statement Greville replied: “Prior to the start of the season I informed the Minor Board to enter us in both the Leinster League and All-Ireland B Championship and as far as I was aware we were entered into both on foot of my request.
At no point was it “communicated accordingly” to me that we were not competing in the All-Ireland Minor B Championship. I received no email, phone call or letter or any other form of communication to relay this information to me. Therefore the County Board may have to revise their communication strategy as I’m not yet equipped for telepathy/mindreading!”