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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 27 January 2021

Meath manager and All-Ireland club winning boss has strong views on the club and county divide

McEntee time in charge of Ballyboden St. Enda’s ended after they lost to Kilmacud Crokes on Saturday.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

NEW MEATH MANAGER Andy McEntee was asked to share his thoughts on the club and county divide as he reflected on the end of his tenure on charge of Ballyboden St. Enda’s.

He didn’t hold back, criticising the “ridiculous” structures which meant Dublin’s All-Ireland winners returned to club action the week after they lifted Sam Maguire.

“Let’s be honest, it’s very difficult for a couple of guys to win an All-Ireland on a Saturday and play another game seven days later,” he told Newstalk’s Oisin Langan.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s totally unfair. It’s not because we lost, I said the same last year when we came out the right side of the result. For guys to win an All-Ireland and then be asked to play again within a short space of time is just not fair and it’s also not fair on clubs.

“Mayo guys are in the same boat now. Whatever about fellas winning an All-Ireland, losing an All-Ireland, how do they feel about turning around and having to play a club match this weekend.

“All clubs are committed to training for ten months of the year, for what? One game? It doesn’t make sense.”

Ballyboden were dumped out of the Dublin SFC second round with a defeat to Kilmacud Crokes on Saturday, who were without the injured Cian O’Sullivan for the fixture.

McEntee expressed his fears over the increased emphasis on the inter-county game, which he says is to the detriment of club players.

“It needs to be changed and I’m kind of laughing at the proposals to have a pool stage at the latter end of the All-Ireland series. That’s just a money racket, that’s all that is. That just doesn’t make sense at all.

“That means more games for the inter-county and drag it out even further, and less of a window for club players. I was looking at this the other day, doing the percentages. I think inter-county hurlers and footballers account for about half a per cent of the playing population of the country.

“Now, I’m going to be wearing a different hat shortly but all the resources are going into that half a per cent. That doesn’t make sense.

“Is this about making money or is this about looking after the players? Everything, the GPA, the whole lot, everything is aimed at looking after a half a per cent of the playing population. Not so sure there’s a future for that.”

What could the GAA do to help? McEntee offered a straightforward solution – by condensing the inter-county calendar.

“There’s not that many games. You start at whatever time of the year you start and you play every two weeks. There you go, it doesn’t take that long. I’m sure it’s not that simple but the inter-county season has to be condensed.

“It’s not fair on Kilmacud to have to turn around and line out without Cian O’Sullivan. It’s not fair on anybody. It’s an unfair system. The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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