The GAA's director of player, club, and games administration Feargal McGill has confirmed to RTÉ Sport that the decision to designate two Clare players as 'close contacts' following their Allianz Hurling League clash with Wexford was made by the HSE.
"Only a public health specialist can make the determination of who is a close contact," McGill said.
"In this case, the decision would be with the local health authority - HSE Midwest," he added.
"They would be the ones to designate close contacts. It had nothing to do with Wexford."
Last Sunday, Clare senior hurling manager Brian Lohan said that the manner in which two of his players were deemed "close contacts" of Wexford players, who tested positive for Covid-19 was "unusual".
In seeking further clarification of the rules, the Clare manager had to stand down two members of the hurling panel for their league win over Laois. Both players in question were subsequently tested, with one coming back negative and the other awaiting their result.
"It was very unusual for us to hear that two of our players were nominated by two Wexford players as close contacts," Lohan told RTÉ Sport after Sunday's win.
"Particularly, given that one of those players only came on in the 51st minute and he nominated one of our players. Everything that we do, all of the protocols, all of the Covid-related stuff is that so that if there is a case that you'd be deemed as a casual contact rather than a close contact.
"So, when someone nominated one of our players as a close contact, there was a good bit of anger there and frustration as well."
In a statement yesterday, Wexford GAA said that no member of their group had nominated Clare players as 'close contacts'.
It’s still unclear why the two Clare players were deemed as such.
Contact tracers across the HSE use a number of measures to make those decisions but no reason has been specified in this instance.
McGill said that there was no simple definition of a 'close contact'.
He said the GAA had helped members by providing considerable advice on how to significantly reduce the risk of being deemed a 'close contact'.
But he stressed that a plethora of factors could have been used by the public health who make such calls.
"There is a whole process they go through in determining the risk factor," McGill continues. "That may mean looking at community factors, age, or even watching video footage of a game."
He reiterated that only a public health specialist could make the decision between ‘close’ and ‘casual’ contacts, stating that not even a GP could make such a call.
Meanwhile, Wexford chairman Micheàl Martin has confirmed to RTÉ Sport that any Wexford players who were in the Cusack Park dressing room for the Allianz League clash with Clare are isolating as close contacts until further test this week.