Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin has hit out at the GAA’s decision not to postpone their Allianz NFL Division Two game against Clare in Ennis next Sunday, October 18. 

The Erne camp has been hit with a Covid-19 outbreak with up to ten players having returned positive tests while others who were deemed to be close contacts are self-isolating leading officials to ask for the game to be postponed. 

However, Croke Park have insisted that the game must go ahead as scheduled but McMenamin feels that if it had been one of the so-called bigger counties then a different decision would have been reached. 

“It is disappointing, but it was expected.  I think if this was a Dublin, a Tyrone or an Armagh that this would have been called off, but I think that because it was Fermanagh it is a different decision,” said McMenamin. 

McMenamin states that his players have also been left disappointed with the help they have received from the GPA. 

“I don’t know what the GPA have done. We made a welfare claim but the GPA don’t seem to be doing a lot. I know our players have been on to them and they have been very, very disappointed with the response they have got to this,” said the former Tyrone All Ireland winner. 

And the Fermanagh boss says that he doesn’t know yet whether they will be able to fulfil the fixture which is vital in their battle against relegation with Fermanagh sitting at the foot of the table with two games to go. 

“There is no decision taken yet but we are going to find it hard to get players to go down to Clare. We will have to see how many we have at training. 

“We will sit down and think about things and I’ll have to think myself about this here. You knew it was going to come but you are still disappointed with the GAA, they have been putting out the message that we are in this together,” he added. 

If Fermanagh do travel to Ennis it will be with little or no preparation for a crunch game and the manager states that there is not much thought about the players health and well-being.

“If we do go there will be no preparation.  

“You appreciate everything that goes on and is good about the GAA but at the minute I think it is a bit much for the GAA to say that they are worrying about the health and well-being of the players. I know one player sent me a WhatsApp message saying ‘I’m not a guinea pig’. 

“I have a duty of care to the players and you always have to look after them, whatever happens,” he said. 

Indeed, because of current restrictions in the south, Fermanagh will be expected to travel directly to Ennis on Sunday morning for a 1pm throw in and then return straight home after the match.

"With the Level 3 restrictions, we have to drive straight down to Ennis for a 1pm throw inand then come straight back, we can’t stop. It is going to be an early start and we’ll just have to get food on the bus," added Ricey.

The Erne boss was also keen to stress that they were seeking a postponement but wanted the league to be completed. 

“I know where the GAA is coming from, I know they have to get the games played and I agree with them. 

“Every county wanted the National League to go ahead, we wanted it to go ahead as well, we just wanted a postponement on the game,” he commented. 

And he has been informed that Clare backed their request to postpone the game. 

“From what I’m told, Clare spoke very passionately on our behalf,” he said. 

McMenamin says that Fermanagh have been open about their situation but feels this decision may have other counties thinking twice about doing likewise. 

“I think it will. We’ve been shown that we did everything correctly and it is just going to bury it deeper underground. Look, if counties are happy to do that then they are happy to do that. I know my conscious is clear.  

“You only have to look at the figures today in the north of the island. I’m content with what we have done.”