“It’s difficult for everybody at the moment, whether you are an inter-county player or club player or any individual.”
Meath Gaelic football manager Andy McEntee is concerned that more inter-county players will step away from the game because of the continuing uncertainty around the GAA season.
The GAA announced that there will be no return to collective training or matches until after Easter, at the earliest.
This means that 2021 could follow a similar calendar to 2020 where club championships were run off first before a winter inter-county championship.
However, McEntee has raised the prospect of a lot more players not returning to their respective inter-county panels if there is no fixed date for a return to action.
“A month ago there was a discussion out there and there were whispers going around that the financial side of Croke Park was not in favour of the league going ahead and that they would prefer ‘club first’,” McEntee told the Irish Independent.
“My suspicion is that it is not entirely down to the Government. That’s the feeling I’m getting. And if it is, we’re not putting up much of a fight.
“If that was the case, if the money wasn’t there, I think everybody, they might not have liked it, but they would have accepted it.
“But don’t tell us you can go back on January 15, no sorry it might now be February 2, no sorry it could be early March, now it might be Easter or it might not be Easter.”
McEntee feels he has a responsibility to look after his players, and while he appreciates that this is a difficult time for everyone, the uncertainty is not fair on his team.
“My responsibility as Meath manager is to look after my players, physically and mentally, and this is not an easy time for everybody,” McEntee continued.
“But it’s no way to treat players. It’s difficult for everybody at the moment, whether you are an inter-county player or club player or any individual.
“But trying to get players ready and then letting them down again and trying to get them ready and letting them down again, there will be a number of players countrywide who will say, ‘I’ve enough of this. This isn’t worth it. This is madness’.”
Inter-county managers on GAA return
The former Ballyboden St. Enda’s manager said that all inter-county managers have got together to come up with the best solution regarding a championship structure for 2021.
“It’s no secret that the managers have got together recently with a view to our opinions on the possible restructuring of the championship, again something that we were not informed about,” McEntee explained.
“I was only made aware of this three or four weeks ago and when I spoke to other managers it became clear that nobody was made aware of these proposals, that they were in the pipeline.
“Last night that WhatsApp group was fairly hopping. Yet again nobody was aware that we were never considered elite and up until the letter we received on February 1, the indications were that we were elite and that we would be going back, probably March.
“All of a sudden nine days later we were informed that we were never considered elite in the first place.”