A County Board delegate has said the recent results of Louth football teams is “not good enough” and questioned how “professional” the set-ups are. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
A County Board delegate has said the recent results of Louth football teams is “not good enough” and questioned how “professional” the set-ups are.
Paul Murtagh, representing St. Mochta’s at Monday night’s committee gathering in Darver, asked for details of the appointment criteria for team management and put forward statistics to substantiate his plea for an overhaul.
Mr Murtagh correctly pointed out that in the last two years, Louth seniors have lost 10 of 18 matches and are staring at the prospect of dropping to Division Four.
The U20s, since the grade was introduced, have played 11 matches across league and championship, losing nine, while suffering defeat by Offaly (2), Carlow and Wexford in their four Leinster outings.
Meanwhile, the U17s (now the minor age-group) have been beaten in seven of their 11 championship affairs, five by 15 points or more.
He suggested looking for an outside manager at senior level and said that despite all the reports coming from development squads, “we’re letting chaps down because the county teams are unprofessional”.
“We’re starting to fall behind the poor teams,” he added, and “other counties are laughing at us. It’s sad to see Louth football in such a state.
“I’m not expecting us to be competing with the top teams, but there’s no reason why we can’t get to where Monaghan or Fermanagh are at.
“Is it that we’re just appointing the cheaper options?”
Furthermore, Mr Murtagh questioned why Newtown Blues’ Colm Nally, presently training Meath’s senior footballers, isn’t involved in Louth, saying he should be asked to put the necessary structures in place.
St. Brides’ Paddy Farrell endorsed his neighbour’s sentiments and was critical of former chairman Des Halpenny’s record of approving managers, saying “he appointed three men from the one club and here we are. Do they have the knowhow?”
Mr Farrell went on to pick out two of the present Louth team, whom he felt hadn’t been performing in recent weeks, an assertion which was rejected by Hunterstown Rovers’ Noel Carrie, who said “it’s unfair to pick on players. Chaps are out trying their best four or five nights a week and I don’t like to see anyone knocking them.”
Responding, chairman Peter Fitzpatrick gave his “full backing” to Wayne Kierans, senior manager, insisting everyone “realises we’re in trouble” and “nobody wants to play in Division Four”, but “as a former county player and manager, I’m not going to start criticising either the manager or the players”.
The re-elected TD said the new football committee, containing 16 high-profile figures, would return a report by February 24, with delegates receiving an update at the March monthly meeting.
Fitzpatrick pledged that there would be “nothing underhand in appointment processes going forward”.
St. Kevins’ David Rogers picked up on the issue, putting on record his agreement with quite a bit of Mr Murtagh’s input. He said Louth didn’t need to “reinvent the wheel”, rather “we need to look at other counties and how they’ve moved forward from a similar situation”.
Rogers added that he was looking forward to the football committee’s recommendations, saying “we have to show we can get a plan and structure in place”.
Closing the discussion, Mr Fitzpatrick said it was imperative that the county got to the bottom of why “players were making themselves unavailable”.
It was agreed that the county teams’ performance would be retained on the agenda for all forthcoming meetings.