Friday 23 August 2019

Football needs a Tier 2 - Evans


Wicklow manager John Evans. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Wicklow manager John Evans. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Wicklow manager John Evans has warned that unless a Tier 2 football championship or some other genuine incentives are put forward, lower-ranked counties will continue to lose players.

"It's a big issue and is not what the GAA is about. But players see that they have no real chance of winning any kind of championship so it's getting harder all the time to convince them to come on board.

"A second championship would go some way, at least, to helping with that. It has got to be tried. Give it a shot and see how it works," said Evans.

The Kerryman, who takes Wicklow into Leinster championship action against Kildare in Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday evening, said that trying to convince players to come on board was a major challenge.

"It's no problem for the big counties where lads are bursting to be given a chance, but then they know that they will be playing at top level. It's different further down."

"I asked a lot of lads to join the Wicklow panel over the last two years and I knew they were thinking, 'is this worth all the effort?'  

"All counties at our level can genuinely offer them is a chance to win promotion and maybe a championship win or two here and there. 

"It's not much to pull out of the holster when you're asking them to commit for a hard training slog in winter," said Evans.

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He believes that a secondary championship would be a real incentive for players, but stresses that it would require extensive promotion.

"There's no point throwing it in there and hoping it takes care of itself. It has to align in some way with the All-Ireland championship, playing the latter stages alongside some of the big attractions in Croke Park.

"It has to be given a chance - otherwise a lot of counties will be in worse trouble than they are," he said.

Wicklow, who finished fifth in Division 4 (three wins, four defeats) will be stepping up in class against Kildare, a task made all the more difficult by injury concerns.

"We were unlucky in some of league games, especially against Leitrim. We have worked hard since then and we'll give it our best shot against Kildare," he said.

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