Saturday 18 November 2017

'Door should be open for frustrated Dubs to move' - O'Brien

Wicklow legend Kevin O’Brien:
Wicklow legend Kevin O’Brien: "For a young lad to play for Dublin it’s a great ambition but there are a lot of quality players up in Dublin that are not going to get inter-county exposure." Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Wicklow legend Kevin O'Brien has backed an inter-county transfer system whereby players surplus to requirements in stronger counties, most notably Dublin, could move to weaker counties.

Dublin's "third-string" coasted to O'Byrne Cup success on Sunday but with the majority unlikely to feature in Jim Gavin's championship plans, O'Brien highlighted the "huge difference" those players would make to struggling counties like Wicklow.

Wicklow's only All-Star believes "frustrated players" from the capital with close relatives in another county should be permitted to switch inter-county allegiance for mutual benefit.

"For a young lad to play for Dublin it's a great ambition but there are a lot of quality players up in Dublin that are not going to get inter-county exposure. It has to be frustrating. For Wicklow to get two or three of those, it would be outstanding," O'Brien said.

Frustration

"I'm sure there are players in Dublin and if I was that player thinking, 'God, I've played club football, I've won county titles and I can't get in on the Dublin team'. There must be frustration.

"We'll say you're a Dub and you're after winning an All-Ireland club, would you like to challenge yourself at the next level? 'Can I cut it at inter-county? Will I ever get the opportunity?'"

O'Brien cited Kildare hurling's recruitment, including former Kilkenny All-Ireland winner John Mulhall, as a positive example and feels a 'grandparent rule' would help ensure control of player movement is maintained.

"That kind of help would really, really boost weaker counties and it would make better teams. I was doing a bit up with Donabate and they've huge men that could make a huge difference," he said.

"We always used to think that we're the nearest county and why didn't it work? By God did we try. But for different reasons, like they (club players) play the league and it's very strong up there.

"But to come down the road sometimes it could be easier to come to Wicklow than to get out to Parnell Park or somewhere."

Irish Independent

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