The Laois senior footballers returned to training last night (Tuesday) with a cloud hanging over the squad following a dramatic day both on and off the field in Croke Park on Sunday.
While Dublin enjoyed themselves en route to an eight point win, Laois were already battling to contain a growing sense of unrest as it is alleged one player refused to come in as a second half subsititute during the game. To compound matters, a furore soon built up over comments made by MJ Tierney on the social network site Twitter, when he posted the word ‘disillusioned’, which was later picked up by The Sunday Game. He also opted to return to Portlaoise by train rather than on the team bus.
Speaking to the Leinster Express yesterday morning, Tierney was keen to downplay the events which have occurred since the game. “It’s very sensationalist, and the Sunday Game have belittled the whole show by talking about it. I didn’t refer to the game whatsoever, it could have been the price of the train ticket I was talking about” stated the Parnells man.
“I’m not disillusioned with the management, I wanted to play, the same as any other player. I had a strong league, but what did people expect me to say? That I was glad I didn’t get a run? I respect Justin’s decision, but if the result had been different there would have been nothing about it.”
His statement, when taken into context with his decision to make his own way home from the game, doesn’t make for great viewing, but Tierney says his decision to go home by train was not a snub to the management or his team mates. “The Dublin based lads weren’t stopped from going their own way, and I just wanted to get back to Nicola and Holly (his family).
“Even my family knows not to mention games to me after a loss, I don’t like losing, but that was all, it was nothing against the team. We went back to the Jackson Court (Hotel) after the game but I didn’t want the food, I wanted to get home and spend the evening with Nicola and Holly.”
Tierney also scotched reports that he would be quitting the panel, instead reiterating his desire to remain with Laois. “I want people in Laois to know that I am 100% committed. What kind of an idiot would drop off a panel after one game? I’ll be at training tonight (Tuesday).”
In spite of the controversy over his comments on Twitter, Tierney claims he does not regret making the post on the site. “I’ll keep tweeting, the GAA is my hobby, it’s not a profession. I don’t tweet about work, because that would be unprofessional, but plenty of intercounty players are on facebook and twitter.
“I don’t have 300,000 followers, I only use it to interact with my own friends, I have less than 100 followers.”
Laois GAA chairman Brian Allen also played down the comments. “To be fair, it was probably taken out of context, he didn’t say what he was disillusioned about”, while Allen also dismissed talk of player unrest and walkouts. “Nobody has been dropped, the team are training tonight (Tuesday) in Portlaoise.”
Elsewhere, with rumours over his intercounty future circulating in the national press on Tuesday morning, veteran midfielder Padraig Clancy declined to comment on the speculation which suggested he was ready to walk away from the setup.
Clancy had picked up an injury early in the league final loss to Donegal, and made a brief return to action in the closing stages of the first round win over Longford. He did not feature in Sunday’s game however, which has now added fuel to the fire as rumours persist over his future participation.
In another bizarre twist, it is also claimed that Justin McNulty, along with a number of other intercounty managers, has chosen to boycott RTE. The decision has allegedly been made as a result of RTE’s treatment of Carthy following Michael O’Mhuircheartaigh’s retirement.
On the injury front, it is hoped Daithi Carroll has only sustained ligament damage to the ankle injury he picked up during the second half of the game. Carroll was stretchered off after a collision with Rory O’Carroll, but doctors will have to wait for swelling to go down before a definite diagnosis can be made.