Monday 19 March 2018

Carew is back for new season as County Board confirm he's staying on

Emma Gallagher

The news filtered through late on Wednesday night that the Sligo GAA Management Committee were retaining Niall Carew as the Senior Manager for the new season.

In a statement issued, the County Board said: "The Sligo GAA Management Committee has decided to retain Niall Carew in the position of Senior Inter-County Football Manager for the coming season.

"The committee believes that the present management team are best placed to build on the efforts of recent years."

Whether the Kildare man was going to remain as the Yeats County manager had been unknown since Sligo bowed out of the All-Ireland after they were defeated narrowly in their Qualifier away to Meath on July 1st.

At the time, the manager said he was going to take time out to speak to his family with regard to his future and whether the time commitments could be given for another year.

He added that the decision ultimately was that of the County Board, who revealed he was remaining on last Wednesday.

The manager told the Sligo Champion: "After the Meath game I took some time out, The County Board went back to their Executive Committee.

"Obviously there were people who wanted questions answered and I answered them. I also spoke to my family at home to see whether I could give the extra commitment.

"Being an inter-county manager is 24/7 as you never stop thinking about it.

"People can't realise that and I don't expect them to realise it unless they were doing it themselves. I'm not looking for a slap on the back or anything but you have to give it the time it deserves.

"These are 30 men that put their lives on hold and you put your life on hold too," he explained

In terms of the new season, Carew said there are plans to do things differently. "We will do things a little differently. The only answer is to work harder and be a bit smarter too.

"People are on about game plans but game plans are very simple.

"It's all counter-attacking football, from your Kerry's to your Dublin's to everyone else, that's the way the game is being played.

"So it's about having pace and power to your game and working on that.

"We also need smarts in the heat of the battle too. We will also have to take the chances that come our way too.

"I don't think Sligo are far off and I've said that before.

"I know I'm not going to please every supporter in Sligo but I promise to give 100%.

"I believe that we can win Connacht and get out of Division 3.

"We have the players there who can do that," the manager maintained.

He said: "Anyone out there who thinks I'm making a fortune I can tell them that I'm not. The County Board covers my expenses and if anyone thinks I'm making a fortune, they should contact the County Board and ask them.

There was rumours circulating that the Board themselves paid for a helicopter for Carew on the morning of the Connacht game with Mayo to bring him from Kildare to Castlebar as his son's Communion was that day but he says these are untrue.

"I paid for the helicopter myself and I wouldn't ask the County Board to pay for it. I signed up my commitment for Sligo full-time and that of course means missing family functions. It was my young lad's Communion that day and it's my job to be there for the players, that was the reason I got the helicopter across. It had nothing to do with the County Board," he added.

Looking ahead to 2018, the goal is to get out of Division 3, which he stresses, won't be easy, and also aim to win Connacht.

"The goals haven't changed. The goal is to get out of Division 3. In saying that Division 3 is very competitive and you see that with Armagh being in the Quarter Finals and Tipperary last year in the semi-final.

"It is a good Division, as are all four Divisions. We have to be on our game and to do that it's all about preparation.

"In my ten years in inter-county management, the preparation is getting higher and higher, you can't leave any stone unturned.

"I will work very hard to do the best with this team and if someone comes along after me and do better, then I will be delighted for Sligo."

With regard to the players themselves, Carew is meeting them before the end of the month.

"I'm hoping to meet them all individually before the end of August and see who's committing and who might be coming back. Some might have taken time to go travelling or taken a year out so I want to meet them all and get going in November."

Before the decision to remain was revealed, Carew had met with the majority of the panel and the general consensus was they were happy for him to stay on as manager.

"I met a good few of the players and the general consensus was that they are happy.

"If your players don't want you there you'll know straight away," he explained.

The manager said the structures will be put in place for the new season.

"We know what is required and preparation needs to be top class. Hopefully too we'll get a small bit of luck.

"I think Sligo is in a good place in inter-county football. I think we've achieved a lot over the last three years, I know we have no silverware but we are very very competitive now and I can stand over that. "We have given everything in every single game this year and I couldn't ask for more from the players."

Another positive has been the blooding of young players a process that takes time he said. "The young players coming through take time to develop, with the exception of Paddy O'Connor. We'll be hoping to find another Paddy O'Connor this year. We're only operating with a panel of 30 so it's competitive to get into.

"It's about getting all our ducks in a row from here on," Carew added.

Sligo Champion