Louth GAA

'We can't sit on our hands until the season is out' - debate over Louth team rages in Darver

Louth GAA

Caoimhín Reilly, at Darver Centre of Excellence

Reporter:

Caoimhín Reilly, at Darver Centre of Excellence

Email:

caoimhin.reilly@dundalkdemocrat.ie

'We can't sit on our hands until the season is out' - debate over Louth team rages in Darver

St. Mochtas’ Paul Murtagh demanded to know Louth GAA’s “plan for the future” in light of the senior team’s relegation to Division Four, at Monday night’s County Board meeting in Darver.

St. Mochtas’ Paul Murtagh demanded to know Louth GAA’s “plan for the future” in light of the senior team’s relegation to Division Four, at Monday night’s County Board meeting in Darver.

The Louth Village representative asked if all present were “going to allow Wayne (Kierans) to sink?” He proceeded to call upon delegates and the top table to “take some responsibility and get Wayne someone to give him a hand” before the championship match against Longford. 

Murtagh, who became increasingly animated, asked if delegates had now become “nodding donkeys” in allowing the situation at inter-county level to continue to worsen. He said he was “distressed looking at it” and refused “to accept that the players aren’t there”.

Following on, St. Nicholas’ Jim McQuillan declared that, in the aftermath of the Leitrim humbling taking place at Dowdallshill, the blame can no longer be placed for Louth’s poor home form on O’Raghallaighs’ field. 

Mr McQuillan proceeded to read aloud the senior team’s record since defeating Wexford in the Leinster Championship last May. Ten games, nine defeats and a sole O’Byrne Cup win. “In anybody’s language, that can’t get much worse,” he added.

He said that Louth have “always expected to beat Longford and Leitrim. Our population is twice theirs put together and we’ve as many clubs as them put together too. They shouldn’t beat us.

“How do we fix it? We’ve tried promoting the minor manager and it hasn’t worked. We’ve tried going for high-profile managers and it didn’t work. The plan has to start from the bottom up. In 2010 we had two coaches. Now we’ve nine and yet we’re getting worse.”

The Nicks man felt delegates weren’t allowed to discuss the Louth senior side over the last few years, but that he’d faith in the present County Board and would continue to support the team.

Roche Emmets’ Brendan McArdle defended Kierans and said this situation has been “a long time coming” with “fewer players coming through” due to the “staggering” number of juvenile combinations. 

Noel Carrie, Hunterstown Rovers, also stood up for the manager and questioned the amount of abuse the O’Connell’s man, his players and selectors were receiving at matches, most notably at the Leitrim game. “I hate to see it and there were two spectators in particular who stood behind the Louth dugout abusing the manager for the whole game”.

“We can’t sit on our hands until the season is out,” said St. Patricks’ Tommy McCann in relation to the results. He called for “help” for the senior team management, while insisting a major overhaul was required. 

Taking the mic, St. Kevins’ David Rogers endorsed the earlier comments of Mr Murtagh for the second meeting in a row. “We were told our coaching structures were the envy of Leinster, but this has been a long time coming,” he declared. “Our kids are as good as anyone’s, but we’re not developing or coaching them properly. We have to become accountable and I feel sorry for the players.”

Responding, chairman Peter Fitzpatrick said that it “didn’t take a genius to realise there are serious problems”. He revealed a planned sitdown with Kierans and some players in the days to come, insisting “since day one the Louth senior team has got full support from the County Board, but we haven’t got a magic wand”.

He said Kierans has been offered additional expertise, and will be again ahead of the Leinster Championship, and that there have been moves made, in the form of the football development committee, to get honour back into the Louth jersey. 

Before moving on, hurling representative Maurice Murphy spoke of his disappointment at Louth’s relegation from Division 3A in the small ball code. He called Paul McCormack’s side “the most unlucky team in the country” given some of their displays, which included one-score defeats by league finalists Donegal and Tyrone.