Monday 20 November 2017

Evans' dual role shot down

Croker insist Tipp boss cannot take up Premier's paid position

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

TIPPERARY'S hopes of keeping football boss John Evans involved in a dual role have been firmly scuppered after the County Board received a strong directive from a top Croke Park official on the matter.

The Premier County have put together a 10-year development plan for football and want Evans, who recently led them to a historic Munster U-21 football title, to drive it in his capacity as a full-time director of football.

Evans is already, separately, coaching the county senior, U-21 and junior football teams.

A GAA Management Committee meeting had initially raised questions about whether Evans could be allowed to do both jobs simultaneously and Tipperary had sought clarification on the matter from Croke Park, stalling his official appointment as director of football until after Congress.

But they are now faced with a Hobson's choice after receiving a letter from GAA director general Paraic Duffy, which strongly reiterated the associations' position.

Quite simply, if Evans is to be employed full-time in a coaching and development role in Tipperary, then there is absolutely no way he can continue managing or coaching county teams.

In order to ensure that the lines between amateur and professional roles in the organisation are not blurred in future, salaried coaches and development officers have to sign an official GAA contract when they are being employed.

Critically, those contracts now include a clause which bars them from coaching any team, at any level, unless it is within their own club.

Tipperary were hoping that the unique new director of football role which they had created would circumvent that and there is no doubt that this is a test case which many counties are carefully observing as they formulate their own long-term developmental strategies.

The charismatic Kerryman, who led the Tipperary seniors to a famous Division 3 National League title last year, retired from the gardai last summer and is seen as the perfect candidate to head up Tipperary's ambitious future football plans.

Tipperary's stay in Division 2 of the NFL was short as they have been immediately relegated this season.

Yet football in the county still received another massive shot in the arm last month when Tipperary beat Kerry to win their first Munster U-21 title.

The Tipperary County Board argue that Evans' full-time appointment is completely separate from his position as U-21 and senior manager and they pointed out to the central authorities that what the Kerry native does in his spare time is entirely up to himself.

But Croke Park are holding a firm line on the matter and are not for turning.

Their ruling is that Tipperary can employ Evans as a full-time employee to lead their ambitious development plan or can retain him as a team manager -- which is an expenses-only role -- but they have firmly laid down the law that they cannot do both.

Tipperary will have to go back to the drawing board now to solve this unusual dilemma over the man who has already played such a central role in the county's recent football renaissance.

Tipperary County Board chairman Barry O'Brien said yesterday that he had not yet seen the communication from Croke Park and therefore could not comment on what Tipperary's next course of action might be.

"We won't be doing or saying anything until we have studied the letter and discussed it thoroughly with our executive," O'Brien said.

  • Westmeath's new interim football manager Pat Flanagan is expected to name recent county players Paul Conway and David Mitchell as his selectors.

Irish Independent

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