Dundalk Gaels' Gerard McSorley gives the reasons why he has decided to step away from the Louth panel. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Gerard McSorley was one of Louth’s standout performers under Pete McGrath, but the Dundalk Gaels clubman is not planning on being involved in the first part of Wayne Kierans’ term as manager.
The speedy forward has stepped away from inter-county football, four years after making his debut, to concentrate on finishing his degree at DkIT.
At 25, he is in his ‘add-on’ year studying ‘Community Youth Work’ and with an intensive workload to boot, the decision was made early for him to take a period away from Wee County duty.
“I’m in my last year at college now and I felt that I needed to step back because I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to give the full commitment,” he told The Democrat.
“I was offered support from Wayne to come back and he’d work around me, but I sort of felt that this would be an opportunity for me to focus fully on college.
“It (the decision) would have been made well before Christmas, even before they got back for pre-season. I had it in my own head.
“The conversation with Wayne wasn’t the easiest. It’s always going to be difficult when a manager wants to keep a player and deep down I really wanted to play, but I needed to give full commitment to college.
“It was a hard decision to walk away, but I won’t be stepping away totally. I’ll still be playing with my club team.”
Since debuting against Leitrim in the 2015 qualifiers, McSorley has consolidated himself in the Louth squad and helped Gaels to some success on the club scene, winning the Division Two title in 2016 before reaching the following year’s senior championship final.
He is looking forward to “trying to win some silverware” with the Ramparts outfit in 2019, with Paul Morgan at the helm. But, while eager to get into the groove with Gaels and, obviously, prioritising his studies, a Louth return hasn’t been ruled out at some stage, even if the commitment levels continue to soar.
“I’m not saying it’s the end of me going back (to Louth), maybe next year, if I feel the time is right, I will go back, or maybe even in a couple of months.
“I just didn’t want anyone chasing me or people saying that they had been chasing me to come back up. I wanted to make a final decision: this is where I’m at.
“The level of commitment is serious, across the board. Even over the last few years, when I started three or four years ago the level of commitment, it’s getting more and more each year and I think you need a high level of commitment if you’re going to do well.
“I felt that I wasn’t able to give that.”