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'Waiting to see what happens with this Special Congress' - Players may quit if football plan defeated

Adrian Marren believes many inter-county footballers will wait until Saturday’s Special Congress outcome to rule themselves in or out for 2022.

Former Sligo forward Adrian Marren.
Former Sligo forward Adrian Marren.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

FORMER SLIGO STAR Adrian Marren believes many inter-county footballers will wait until Saturday’s Special Congress outcome to rule themselves in or out for 2022.

The meeting will deal with the future of the football championship with players favouring a new league-based model that guarantees seven summertime games.

Speaking to promote the Win a House in Sligo draw, organised by his club Curry and Roscommon’s Shannon Gaels, ex-captain Marren predicted many players will withdraw from panels if the status quo remains.

His comments chime with the views of Gaelic Players Association chief Tom Parsons who said a ‘passive revolt’ of player withdrawals is possible if the new structure isn’t voted in.

“If you go down around the Division 4 counties in particular, this is a huge issue and I’d say an awful lot of lads are waiting to see what happens on Saturday before they decide whether to play next year,” said Marren.

“For counties like Sligo, Leitrim, Carlow, Waterford, if Option B comes in and we get the league based championship, then I think everyone will be happy to commit.

“But everyone saw what happened this year, Sligo and Leitrim had one championship game each against Mayo and both were heavily beaten. There were so many big beatings around the provinces.

“From what I’m hearing in Sligo, there are players, and good young players, that are waiting to see what happens with this Special Congress. Those boys will definitely rely on that to make up their minds about 2022.

“I’d say every county manager is having the same problem. Okay, maybe a lad getting his first call for the county will say yes no matter what happens but it’s a hard sell for a guy who is playing five, six, seven years to go back in if change doesn’t come.”

Ex-attacker Marren, who retired in September of 2020 after 16 years of Sligo service, believes Proposal B for the ‘flipped’ season could help Sligo in particular.

“We got a good kick out of winning the Connacht minor championship this year,” said Marren. “Those young players will be coming through as senior club players in the next couple of years.

“There is a good Sligo panel generally there but it’s a case of getting everyone to commit and I think Option B coming in makes that much more likely because it’s guaranteeing plenty of games for players each summer.”

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Marren remains a key player for his club Curry who, along with Shannon Gaels, are banking on the Win a House draw to raise crucial funds for facilities.

Win a House in Sligo 2

The prize is a €300,000 three-bedroom house close to Strandhill beach with the winner to be announced on January 9. Tickets are €100 each and are available at winahouseinsligo.ie.

“It’s an outrageous house in a stunning location,” said Marren. “It’s a brilliant fundraiser for two rural clubs who are struggling to get money in and need to upgrade our facilities.”

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Paul Keane

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