Magee: Super 8 will see players walk away
Wicklow boss Johnny Magee reckons weaker teams will see a significant upsurge in players opting out of county football with the introduction of the Super 8s from next year.
The former Dublin footballer has consistently beaten the drum for smaller counties since taking charge in Wicklow ahead of the 2015 season, and he sees the introduction of the Super 8 as another body blow for sides like his.
"It will only be compounded more now, with the Super 8," he said. "It will be interesting to see the loss of players next year, and not just in Wicklow, but all the so-called weaker counties. Just getting fellas committing to county squads… I hope I'm wrong, but I think there will be."
Wicklow start their Championship on Sunday when they face Louth in Parnell Park. Their League form, which saw them win just one game from seven in Division 4, suggests they could be in for a difficult afternoon against a Louth team that secured promotion to Division 2.
But Magee believes his side are at their best come Championship time.
"It was a difficult (League) campaign, to be honest. We played well in fits and starts, but not consistently," he said.
"We played well against Wexford, got beaten by a goal, had a chance to win. Then lost to Westmeath, and again unforced errors cost us. Then those two teams got promoted, and you wonder. Again a huge learning experience for the lads.
"They are hungry, looking for success, and just need to get some consistency. The incentive is gone, though, if you lose the first two games in the League.
"Last year we were two points down against Laois, going into the last five minutes. The year before against Meath, we were in a good position too, and lost by four. And missed an awful lot of frees.
"So look, we have kept some of our best performances for the Championship, but we just want to be winning. I don't actually care how that comes on Sunday. But winning now is the only objective."