Limerick football manager Billy Lee was speaking to RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey in the aftermath of his sides 1-24 to 0-14 point loss to Clare on Saturday evening and revealed why his side almost pulled his side from the game following an administrative error.
The Newcastlewest man was furious after an administration error forced him to omit a player from his plans at the last minute.
Jim Liston was not named in the submitted panel to Croke Park midweek and as the deadline to change the lineup had passed before the mistake was realised, he was not eligible to face Clare.
“Tonight we had a lad who was due to be on the bench but because of inaccuracies in our administration I couldn’t use him. I had to tell the lad afterwards he couldn’t play and he was distraught.
“I wasn’t guided about when the team for the match programme had to be in.
“I had to convene a conference call at lunchtime on Wednesday to put some team into the programme or else the programme would have gone with no Limerick team on it.
“The chairman rang me and I said ‘okay’ and I obliged. We had two players we were trying to get on to the bench, namely Seamie Carroll and Jim Liston. We were training Wednesday night. One of them made it, one of them didn’t.
“I find out then the wrong team was given in to Croke Park on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, it was the team for the programme.
“It lies with the administrators. The issue with the player on the bench, I can tell people that was handled with ten minutes to go because I was in a place where I wasn’t going to let the team out to play the game.
“We need every help we can get. Three and half hours before a Championship game I got a call saying Jim Liston couldn’t play. This is shocking stuff. I had to tell a player Wednesday night that his was name was in the programme but he wasn’t in the panel.
“Then I had to turn around to the fella who was on the panel and tell him that he couldn’t be part of it because there was an error in administration.
“It’s been a trying week. It’s so disappointing.”
Lee went on to describe how he threatened not to field a team just hours before throw-in as well as venting his frustration and why 53 players rejected invitations from the county to participate in the panel.
“I threatened before we left Newcastle that if (Liston) wouldn’t be on the bench then I wouldn’t be in Limerick. I did that, yeah.
“I suppose anyone who’d know me would know the kind of character I am. I’d be fair to people, I’d work with people but when I get my back up I go into the trenches.
“I told the administrators that I wouldn’t be letting the team out.
“The chairman of the football board, the chairman of the county board and the secretary of the football board approached me in the tunnel there and I said, ‘Look lads, is anyone going to sort this out? Make a call to Croke Park’.
“I asked 53 would they come in and have a look at it. All of them for different reasons weren’t interested. That’s the challenge. Eighteen players from last year, for different reasons again, weren’t there either.
“That’s their decision. We have to respect it. We mightn’t like it but we have to respect them and move on with the players that are there.
“The disappointing thing is one or two players… wouldn’t even return calls. That’s disappointing.
“We’ve just go to keep working, make it enjoyable and make it worthwhile for fellas to get in.”
Watch the interview in full on the link below.
Video credit RTE GAA on Facebook