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*Brian Lohan on the sideline at O’Moore Park. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare senior hurling manager, Brian Lohan has voiced his annoyance with the fact that two of his panellists were named as close contacts of two Wexford hurlers that were deemed to be positive cases of COVID-19.

Lohan was without two panellists for their trip to Portlaoise on Sunday as they were identified as close contacts of two Wexford hurlers that tested positive for the virus after their clash in Cusack Park last weekend. Their results became known on Tuesday afternoon.

Wexford’s clash with Kilkenny was postponed as a result of the cases. A total of three panellists of Davy Fitzgerald’s squad tested positive for the virus. The third case became known following further testing of the panel on Friday. Confirmed cases were also known in Wexford’s camogie and ladies football squads.

HSE staff informed the two Clare hurlers on Wednesday that they were close contacts and would have to isolate until getting their own test results.

Speaking following Clare’s first win of the 2021 Allianz National Hurling League, Lohan put forward his view that the criteria followed in this example were not consistent to guidelines previously issued when it comes to close and casual contacts.

He stated, “We were contacted by the HSE to say that two of the Wexford players nominated two of our players as close contacts, that was unusual for us because any of the protocols that we do are aimed to try and make sure we’re casual rather than close contacts. In one instance in particular where a substitute came on for Wexford, he named one of our players as a close contact so I find it very unusual that it would be the case”.

“I don’t think we have to learn anything from it, we have to follow the rules. Certainly there was a whole lot of anger amongst our set up as a result of what happened this week,” the Shannon native added.

Croke Park based GAA officials are to hold a meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss if Wexford versus Kilkenny will be replayed. The manner in which Clare players were deemed to be close rather than casual contacts is also expected to be discussed.

In a statement issued to Clare FM on Monday morning, Clare GAA PRO Michael O’Connor outlined that the two players identified as close contacts were asked by the Association “to step back from training and game activity once they were named and as a consequence have to isolate for the intervening 10 days from notification. Following voluntary testing of the two nominated Clare players they were deemed to be negative but will still be isolating”.

Clare GAA insisted they have “at all times” adhered to the guidelines issued by the HSE and the GAA. “Clare GAA will take on board at all times the advice and support provided by the health authorities. Clare GAA will endeavour to ensure the strictest management of health and safety during Covid and non-Covid times for all Clare GAA teams and request that the clubs of the county do likewise as we now move into the playing season at levels”.

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