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'My only focus is the Meath team' - Colm O'Rourke takes early retirement for Royals role as Seán Boylan returns

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Colm O'Rourke is set for his first season as Meath manager in 2023. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Colm O'Rourke is set for his first season as Meath manager in 2023. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Colm O'Rourke is set for his first season as Meath manager in 2023. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Incoming Meath manager Colm O’Rourke is set to retire from his job as principal of St Patrick’s CS in Navan in the months ahead to give the Meath job his "full attention" and he has also confirmed that the Royals’ legendary maestro Seán Boylan will be part of his backroom team.

While insisting that his decision to leave St Pat’s after 42 years was ‘no sacrifice’, he also believes that the requirements of the Meath job demanded he step down.

“I’m retiring from my job to concentrate on Meath,” he said as Meath launched a new eight-team regional championship. “I’m taking time out from everything, my only focus next year is the Meath team. I’m retiring from St Pat’s at Christmas to give my full attention to this job.

“I think the demands of this job are too great to try and hold down some of the employment I have had in the past, so I’ll be giving up everything to try and concentrate on this.

“I always felt when you are in for something you’re in fully or not at all. When you are fully immersed in it, then the chances are you are going to do it better. It’s no big sacrifice for me, I’m really looking forward to it. I’m really saddened leaving St Pat’s after 42 years in it, I’d love to stay for another 42 but I don’t think it’s possible to run a county team.

“I d have stayed (in the school) for a while more, but I want to give it full attention. If you are not going to do it right don’t bother doing it at all. I don’t want it to appear as if I’m making a huge sacrifice, for me it’s not a sacrifice. I don’t like players or managers using the word sacrifice for football.”

O’Rourke also insisted that Boylan would be an ‘asset’ to the set-up.

“I went to Seán straight away and said ‘Seán I’d like you to be involved in some shape or form, whatever way you want to be, whatever you like. If you want to come down once a week or once a month or if you want to chat to the fellas or come in and give the team-talk before the first game in the league that will be fine by me.’

“Because he is the person who still has the most respect, even with current players. He’s a wonderful asset so I always thought it was foolish people didn’t have him around the place and he has his whole positive nature too rubs off on players.”

The new regional championship will be similar to the system employed in Kerry with the county’s junior and intermediate clubs being split up into eight groups (Tara, Brú na Bóinne, Boyne Valley, An Tuascairt, Blackwater, Lough Crew, Darnley and Moyfernagh) with the best players from each region chosen to play in the competition.

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Former Royals star and ex-U-20 manager Brian Farrell, recently appointed Meath ladies football manager Davy Nelson and 2021, All-Ireland minor-winning boss Cathal Ó Bric, are amongst the regional managers.

The teams will play off in two groups of four with the top two sides in each pool advancing to the semi-finals. At the end of the competition, an All-Star team chosen from the competition will play a Meath selection in what is expected to be the first official game of O’Rourke’s reign.


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