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'Croke Park don’t give a f*** about us at the bottom' - McMenamin on new Tier 2 competition

The Fermanagh boss is worried that counties playing in the Tailteann Cup will struggle to hold on to players.

Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin.
Fermanagh manager Ryan McMenamin.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FERMANAGH MANAGER RYAN McMenamin cut a dejected figure at the end of their 3-14 to 0-10 defeat at home to Armagh on Saturday night, and launched a broadside at the creation of the Tier Two competition – named the Tailteann Cup last weekend – that at this vantage point, looks as if they are heading for this summer.

“To me it was badly thought out. It was rushed and I think it was a job by the President (outgoing President John Horan)… I think everyone wants to leave a legacy now, that is the dream of everybody,” said the three-time All-Ireland winner with Tyrone.

“The GAA has gone too corporate. We all have to look at ourselves. I was out this morning coaching ladies and it was a joy to be out with them. I think the GAA has lost that. I can see as manager of a small county that Croke Park don’t give a fuck about us at the bottom. Maybe you are not meant to say that but that is my feeling on it.”

He continued, “People wanted the Tier Two and they got the Tier Two. It is not going to help the smaller counties. If Waterford lost their first game in the qualifiers and their second game in Tier Two, the same principle applies and people don’t seem to think that.

“Tier Two is basically for big teams. That is the narrative because everyone knows if Tyrone or Donegal were to beaten in the first round under the old system they would have had four games to play, now they have only two.

“They have too many games and they want the big teams fresh. That is what the Super 8s is all about. Everyone knows it is for the big teams, the top 16. Could it have been done better? Yes, you could have a Tier Two but not with a five or six week break in between. It is madness.”

McMenamin has echoed his own player Ryan Jones, and Down manager Paddy Tally in stating that any team in the second tier competition will be doing well to hold on to players, believing that they will prefer to play a summer in America instead.

“You could have boys going to America. It is going to be a challenge for the county board. You have to ask the question, how are the county board going to fund this?” asked McMenamin.

“And if you are a manager in the middle of the club season, you are going to say, ‘sure why bother with that there?’ Plus you have a five or six week break from the end of the Tier Two, so there are a lot of ifs.”

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McMenamin said he would not be pushing players into making difficult decisions about how they wish to spend their summer, adding, “I am not going to be standing… if a man wants to go to America for the summer, who am I to say no? I have no contract with him.”

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Declan Bogue

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