“Everyone has a job to do, I didn’t just pick them because they’re mates or friends.”
Bernard Flynn has dismissed suggestions he has picked his mates for his backroom team to take over the Meath Under 20 Gaelic footballers.
Flynn was speaking after being announced as the new underage coach for his native county.
This is his first inter-county management role and he has agreed an initial two-year-deal with the county board.
On the former Meath footballer’s coaching ticket are Meath legends Graham Geraghty and Graham Reilly, former Mayo ladies boss Peter Leahy, ex-Dublin and Ipswich Town goalkeeper Shane Supple and Kilmacud Crokes manager Robbie Brennan.
However, the new boss insisted that all members of the new backroom team had a vital role to play and weren’t just picked on the basis of being “mates or friends.”
Flynn told LMFM Radio: “Everyone has a job to do, I didn’t just pick them because they’re mates or friends.
“I saw a specific role for each of them where they can contribute.”
Graham Geraghty’s inclusion was perhaps the most surprising given the health scare he received just three months ago.
Flynn continued: “I’ve been chatting with Graham for a good while, about his rehab. We’ve got to be careful but he was thrilled to come on board.”
The two-time All-Ireland winner also tried to secure the services of legendary Royals boss Sean Boylan.
However, Boylan had already agreed to a role with the Down Under-20s and couldn’t be persuaded to change his mind.
“I tried for about three days to get his head turned and to maybe do a U-turn,” Flynn explained.
“I feel he should be involved in every underage Meath squad in some capacity.”
Given Meath winning a 2018 Leinster minor title, expectations are high. Although, Flynn doesn’t want to put his team, or himself, under too much pressure.
Flynn said: “I’m not going to bring too much pressure on myself.
“Yes, we want to achieve, I’m a winner, there’s no question about that.
“But, I see the bigger picture too.”
Peter Leahy’s involvement under Bernard Flynn should be considered a positive, given his experience as Mayo ladies manager.
Speaking to MidWest Radio, Leahy said his decision was made with a “tinge of sadness”.
“An opportunity arose. It’s been on the cards for a week and a half, it leaked to the media that I was going to be involved with the Meath U20s and it was ratified last night,” Leahy explained.
“The last year with Mayo was exceptionally tough but I had a year left in my contract that I was going to honour.
“It transpired the opportunity came up to work with a legend like Bernard Flynn.”
“I felt I needed a change and I think at the end of the day it will be healthy for the players to make a change at this stage.”
Peter Leahy has stepped down as Mayo LGFA Senior team manager after 3 seasons at the helm
— Mayo LGFA (@Mayo_LGFA) January 12, 2021
Furthermore, Leahy added that the new role offers him a “new adventure” and he is excited to be working alongside big names like Graham Geraghty.
“When the project was put to me, it was very, very exciting,” he continued.
“The people he is getting involved, with the likes of Graham Geraghty, are from an era when they were feared by the rest of the country.
“Instilling that again in Meath is exciting. The ambition in the county is huge.”
Leahy added that part of the three-year plan with the U20s was to win an All-Ireland title.