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Stephen Wallace Fires Back At Offaly County Board And 'Witch-Hunt' Which Got Him Sacked

Stephen Wallace Fires Back At Offaly County Board And 'Witch-Hunt' Which Got Him Sacked
By PJ Browne
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Stephen Wallace was relieved of his duties as Offaly football manager on Wednesday night. In a short statement released by the county board, it was said an interim management team will be appointed.

The announcement brought to a to a head a turbulent week for Offaly football. On Sunday, Offaly suffered a shock defeat to Wicklow in the opening round of the Leinster Championship.

There followed suggestions from Midlands 103 commentator Brian Gavin that Wallace had lost the faith of the dressing and that his position was untenable.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Stephen Wallace denied that assertion from Gavin, adding that he had the full backing of the players.

At Offaly training on Wednesday night, the Kerryman - who is serving a suspension for an incident during a Kerry club game - said that Offaly players handed a statement to county board chairman Tommy Byrne expressing their commitment to playing under Wallace.

The players issued a statement, which they handed to the County Board chairman Tommy Byrne, (saying) ‘We look forward to the challenge and improving our performance. We’re very committed to playing for Offaly under the current management. We would also like to confirm that no player has engaged with local or national reporters since last Sunday’s game.

Full backing from the players (but) I received a phone call from the chairman saying I had been relieved of my duties.

Obviously, I’m totally disillusioned with this phone call I’ve received.

The big concern for me, and any manager would attest to this, the backing of the players is paramount.

The statement that was handed to the chairman has confirmed that the players were 100% behind me as manager and my backroom team, yet the county board have decided to remove me from my position.

Wallace said that it had not been explained to him why he had been sacked. County board chairman Tommy Byrne suggested to RTÉ that is was due to his suspension.

According to Wallace, he has only been suspended for two weeks and prior to then had been able to prepare the team as normal. Though he agreed it was not an ideal scenario, he added, "but if every player or manager or official who has a misdemeanour is going to be cast aside, well then we'll have no one left playing."

"It makes no logical sense to me. Is it because we lost a football game to Wicklow?


"If it is, we’re turning into the Premiership. You lose a game as a soccer manager and you’re looking over your shoulder. Is that what we’ve become?"


Wallace stated that the events of half-time during the Offaly game had been exaggerated. According to Brian Gavin, there had been a major dressing row during the break. That row had involved forward Nigel Dunne who had been substituted in the first half. Gavin said that Dunne had left the dressing room with the intention of getting into his car and heading home - Dunne has since denied that account of events.

"The incident that happened in the dressing room was over in 17 to 20 seconds," said Wallace.


"He said a few words, he wasn't happy with being substituted. He went for a walk.

"The young fella was quite upset by the whole thing. A member of management went after him, had a discussion with him and chatted it out.

"If you were to listen to the nonsense that went out in the media, it looked like there were 20 Offaly fellas punching the heads off each other in the dressing room.


"It couldn't be further from the truth, it was blown out of all proportion."

Wallace also had a cut at Brian Gavin.

"Our last game was down in Mullingar and the same guy was waxing lyrical about us and the beautiful football we played; the first Offaly team to beat Westmeath in 12 years and the same guy was then spouting this stuff in the media.


"Unfortunately, it's got traction and it's got legs and there was a witch-hunt - it's very, very nasty."

Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

See Also: Louth Manager Hits Out At Controversy Which Sees Him Deprived Of Star Players

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