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Published 20/03/2011 | 05:00

O'Neill off target

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in manager attack

Liam O'Neill's comments [Mar 6] on outside managers and in particular the term they actually serve makes me wonder whether we follow the same GAA. Mr O'Neill gives the example of the county chairman who weds himself to a high-powered manager for five years and in effect becomes that manager's slave.

Try as I might I cannot recall a single manager who fits that bill. Mayo, Galway and Sligo have had 15 managers between them since 2001. Roscommon have had four at least. Mickey Moran lasted ten months with Mayo despite leading them to an All-Ireland final. Joe Kernan lasted a year with Galway. That turnover smacks more of schizophrenia than carefully planned forward thinking. Seems to me that the winner in those battles wasn't the unfortunate manager. All evidence points that it's the chairmen and county boards that hold the whip. They never become slaves to a manager.

Perhaps Mr O'Neill might focus on why good managers in their own counties are constantly overlooked. This is because they and their would-be employers fail to see eye to eye and tribal or long-forgotten disputes block their route to the manager's job.

Leinster football in particular has greatly benefited from outside managers. Laois, Westmeath and Kildare owe all their recent success to Kerrymen. Wicklow are the new media darlings thanks to Mick O'Dwyer and Offaly last won an All-Ireland with a Longford man at the helm. It's idiotic to stop any county from appointing whom they deem to be the man they want. What is needed is a root and branch assessment of the county boards that run each county. Are they still in touch with the grassroots and do they reflect what their own county people aspire to? Headline grabbing with a focus on outside managers sends the wrong message.

Does that mean that Kevin Walsh's excellent work in Sligo should be turned to ash or that Seamus McEnaney should not try and better Meath? It's not the so-called outside managers that are the cause of GAA woe. It's the shambolic and often idiotic machinations of the various county boards that create most of the big problems. That's where Mr O'Neill should focus his laser on.

John Cuffe

City of Glasgow deserves better

I unfortunately came across John O'Brien's piece on Wednesday's Old Firm match [Mar 6]. Did he really 'check in' or just jump on the bandwagon later for some easy copy.

I was at the the match and obviously cannot condone some of the conduct, but I also must say that most of the after-match comments were way over the top. My main reason for writing is not about the football, it's how O'Brien starts off with his anti-Scottish and anti-Glasgow comments ('in the small city they both call home'). I know a lot of people let themselves down, but so also does O'Brien with his obvious prejudice against Scots and Glaswegians in particular.

Frank Taggart

Too easy to point finger at Kilkenny

I read John Greene's short piece on football in Kilkenny [Mar 6]. Firstly, please allow me to declare my bias. I am a Kilkenny man. I am not dismissive of any sport. I accept that hurling has a special place in my life as it does with a majority of people in Kilkenny.

Kilkenny has many faults. We find it difficult to make room for as wide a variety of social and cultural activities as we should and this does not benefit us as a people. You give us too much credit in regard to soccer and rugby. Other sports and the arts generally are undersubscribed.

I do find that many journalists and pundits point the finger all too easily at Kilkenny. I have seen Division 4 hurling and football matches and to claim that they are a similar standard would be questionable. I am open to correction on this. I would expect that the top six junior hurling sides in Kilkenny would have little difficulty in defeating most if not all of the Division 4 hurling sides. I am involved with a junior club and I'm not being dismissive.

I also know how difficult it is for guys who really like Gaelic football in Kilkenny. It is much more difficult than you might imagine as most efforts go unsupported. Three men and a dog in some cases though, to be fair, most club efforts get decent support.

If Leitrim or Cavan or Tyrone got to a level of a Carlow or a Kerry in hurling, then people in Kilkenny would take your argument more seriously. As it is, Kilkenny is the only football county team at the level that they are at. About 16 hurling counties are in a similar position, the difference being that get to play each other and pretend all is well.

It is a bigger scandal that Antrim get treated so badly in hurling terms but that does not sell newspapers.

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