Clare GAA says the HSE confirmed to hurling manager Brian Lohan that two of his panellists were deemed Covid-19 close contacts after discussions with the two Wexford players who had tested positive.

Controversy erupted on Sunday after two Clare players missed the county's win over Laois, having been identified as close contacts by the HSE in the week after Wexford's victory over the Banner.

Lohan said this was "unusual" and remarked that, "Everything that we do, all of the protocols... is that so that if there is a case that you'd be deemed as a casual contact rather than a close contact."

The players in question subsequently tested negative but must complete a 10-day period of isolation.

Wexford chairman Micheal Martin responded yesterday by insisting that it was a HSE decision and that "No Wexford player had anything to do with the listing of Clare players as close contacts."

However, Clare today released a statement backing Lohan, which said: "The HSE informed Brian Lohan that two players were identified on foot of discussions between the contact tracing team of the HSE and the Wexford players involved who were positive cases.

"The HSE did confirm that for one of the players, they were identified, not by name but were identified by the colour of their helmet.

"This has led to two players having to self-isolate and if this process continues without clear clarification regarding Close and Casual contact from Croke Park it will have ramifications for the season ahead for club and county games.

"Brian Lohan stands by his comments made last Sunday in relation to the incident and there remains much disappointment and frustration in our county in relation to why the Clare players were identified.

"We have already made representations to Croke Park on this player welfare issue, and we will be making further representation through the GPA. To conclude, Clare GAA stand fully by the comments issued by the Clare senior hurling manager."

Dr Mary Horgan, a member of the GAA's Covid committee, told RTÉ Sport that the successful adherance to the return to play protocols mean there have been only 'a handful' of contacts deemed 'close' in approximately 30,000 matches played since the start of the pandemic.

The Kilkenny-Wexford Division 1 clash that was postponed after the two Wexford players had tested positive has provisionally been rescheduled for this Sunday at 3pm.