Saturday 26 May 2018

Big club game? No thanks - I'm on hols

Moorefield manager Seamus Dowling. Picture credit: Kieran Clancy / SPORTSFILE
Moorefield manager Seamus Dowling. Picture credit: Kieran Clancy / SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Asked what he regarded as the biggest disappointment of this year's Kildare football championship, former Lilywhite warhorse, Seamus 'Sos' Dowling replied in an article for Sunday's county final programme: "County players taking holidays when their clubs are in the thick of the championship."

The Moorefield stalwart said it was hard on a club to reach a quarter or semi-final, only to lose top players to a holiday flight. "You wouldn't see the likes of Johnny Doyle, Ronan Sweeney or Gary White doing that," he said.

Dowling also suggested that one of the reasons the two Newbridge clubs, Sarsfields and Moorefield, were so successful was because 'they all stick together as a team'.

And while both deserve credit for maintaining the high standards that have helped them win the last five titles between them while dominating for 13 of the last 18 seasons, Dowling (above) argued that the county team would benefit from other clubs taking the big prize.

Here's the question: is this a Kildare issue only, or have clubs in other counties experienced the curse of the holidaying stars during the latter stages of the local campaigns? And if so, what does it say about them?

The inter-county programme is usually blamed for damaging the club scene but it's not the only problem if the issue highlighted by Dowling is on the increase. And that's in addition to the annual American exodus, which leaves many clubs short-handed.

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