Contrary to reports that Offaly's senior hurlers would not be released to take part in the county's football championship this weekend, the county board have informed Balls that they "categorically" deny that any such order was in place.
Rumours of such an instruction from the county's hurling manager Kevin Martin aroused anger among many who felt such a limited use of players was to the detriment of Offaly's smaller clubs.
@DuignanMichael @sportsdes @MrJackieTee your thoughts on Offaly hurlers not been allowed play club football championship this weekend in fear there putting their County career at risk!! How does that help smaller clubs #disgraceful
— Kevin Lynam (@Kevly12) April 4, 2018
Yet, as former referee and Offaly native Brian Gavin clarified the issue on Midlands 103:
Kevin Martin is not stopping anyone playing football.
What has also happened though is that some players might decide not to play themselves, and want to be in the best condition possible when they go back training with the Offaly hurlers.
Revealing that the Offaly hurlers had three enticing challenge matches between now and their Leinster championship opener against All-Ireland champions Galway, Gavin suggested that the decision was left squarely with the players.
The Offaly county board have since confirmed this information with Balls.
Yet, certain figures are not necessarily convinced with the arguement that the players have their own say regarding their commitments.
That’s a joke , a players allegiance is to his club firstly , Offaly county board are wrong to allow county management dictate #playaway
— Ronnie Byrne (@RonnieByrne) April 5, 2018
Couldn’t agree more with you Ron. Then trying to make out it’s the players decision. 8-10 men play football so if they all decided to play football could he afford to not consider them all for County panel??
— Kevin Lynam (@Kevly12) April 5, 2018
Former Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell weighed in with the approach his own county was taking regarding the club/county divide.
Kilkenny have League Final this weekend and then all county players back to clubs after it for club game then the following weekend. Sad to see this happening Kevin.
— Jackie Tyrrell (@MrJackieTee) April 5, 2018
While former Offaly All-Ireland winner Michael Duignan weighed in with his thoughts on the matter.
Don’t know anything about that Kevin. In my opinion everyone should be available to their clubs for championship matches.
— Michael Duignan (@DuignanMichael) April 4, 2018
With four first round matches of the Offaly football championship due to take place this weekend, it remains to be seen how many of the dual players involved decide to carry on playing football in lieu of their hurling commitments.
After a strong start to their Allianz Hurling League campaign with a memorable defeat of Dublin in Croke Park, Martin's side struggled to put together a convincing run of form.
However, after a tight defeat to Kilkenny in the quarter-final of the League, cautious optimism is the current mood around Offaly hurling.