John Maughan Believes All-Ireland Title Will Be Tainted This Year

John Maughan always calls it straight but that’s just one of the reasons he is held in such high regard throughout the GAA.

One of only three men to manage five different county teams and the only to do so in each of the four provinces, Maughan is well placed to air his views and the former Mayo boss has never shied away from doing so.

Maughan believes that the upcoming All-Ireland campaign, due to begin on October 31, will be tainted due to the delay caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Offaly manager has likened this year’s campaign to 2001 when the Foot and Mouth disease caused disruption to the National League.

“This is a little bit like the foot-and-mouth league – the Covid All-Ireland! No matter who wins it, it will be tainted because it’s different,” he told the Irish Times.

Maughan has been managing inter-county setups since he was 28,

The Crossmolina native has seen two generations come and go and is currently working with a third in the shape of the Offaly footballers where the modern-day life involves zoom calls and conferences.

He discusses the challenges of today while also reflecting on his memorable career to date including his run with the Clare footballers which yielded a first Munster football title in 75 years back in 1992.

An amazing feat that looks likely to never happen again as the gap between county setups widen, something that Maughan is very much a realist about.

Offaly have a rich tradition of competing with the top teams in both codes. Yet, Maughan believes it could be decades before the county, as well as Westmeath and the rest of Ireland’s tier-two teams, start competing at provincial level once again.

“In Leinster, it might be decades, if ever, by the time Offaly can compete with Dublin. They’ve now 13 of the last 14 Leinster titles so it’s not just Offaly.

“Westmeath play Dublin in the first round of the championship and what chance have they? That’s their season over. The uncertainty of outcome is what makes sport exciting – the unknown; that sense of anticipation, how are you going and who’ll pick up who.

“We focus on getting into the second round of the championship and having a crack at Kildare. Winners probably play Meath and you know what? On a good day? But as regards winning the title you have to be realistic and honest.”

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