Saturday 1 October 2016

Players no longer besotted by county jersey

Published 11/01/2016 | 02:30

Jamie Clarke has told Kieran McGeeney that he won't be available to play for Armagh. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile
Jamie Clarke has told Kieran McGeeney that he won't be available to play for Armagh. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile

These are changed times when it comes to assembling county team panels.

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It used to be that the manager and selectors would have trial games at this time of year and then draw up a panel by simply selecting the relevant number and then notifying the players concerned. Looks simple enough doesn't it?

But it is not simple any more. Every player has to be ASKED if he wants to play for his county, because it can no longer be taken for granted that lads want to wear the jersey, even if they are good enough.

Over the past weeks we have had non-stop stories about well-known players not making themselves available for the county.

We had Jamie Clarke telling Kieran McGeeney that in Armagh for instance. Several players who were asked to play for Longford refused the invitation recently. Cavan have also had a rake of refusals in recent years. Rory O'Carroll was another example.

It applies more to weaker counties as might be expected and is very serious because weaker counties simply must have their best players on the field if they ever hope to compete. Sadly that is not happening, and many county teams are suffering badly as a result.

It seems the honour and glory of wearing your county jersey has waned for many footballers around the country.

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