Sunday 18 February 2018

'They should look themselves in the mirror' - Pat Spillane slams Fermanagh players after Pete McGrath's forced exit

Pete McGrath
Pete McGrath Newsdesk Newsdesk

The news of Pete McGrath's resignation and the player heave in Fermanagh has shocked most observers in the GAA world.

McGrath led the Ernesiders to an All-Ireland quarter-final in 2015, where they scored 2-15 against the Dubs in a spirited display, and almost masterminded a qualifier win over eventiual beaten All-Ireland finallists Mayo in Castlebar last year.

After losing a number of squad members for a variety of reasons this year, Fermanagh were relegated from Division Two and exited the championship after defeats to Monaghan in Ulster, where just six of the team that took on the Dubs two years earlier were available, and Armagh in the qualifiers.

Pat Spillane was highly critical of the Fermanagh players involved in ousting McGrath.

"I think his record as a manager with Down and his record as a manager with Fermanagh, getting to an All-Ireland quarter-final, getting to Division Two in the league, staying in Division Two with limited resources and a small population," he told the Sunday Game last night.

"At the end of the day, no manager scores a winning point in an All-Ireland.

"It's an easy cop out to get rid of the manager, if you want to look for fall guys, players should look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves have they delivered. I don't think they have but Pete certainly has delivered for Fermanagh and owes nothing to them. A great footballing man and a great coach."

Former Westmeath star Dessie Dolan claimed that it is not easy for manager's of teams in the bottom two tiers of the game.

"The hardest place to be a manager is Division Three and Four and in certain cases Division Four because it is hard to get players to buy into it," he said.

"Pete was a compromise rules manager when I was there, he won two All-Irelands with Down. Pete McGrath is a savage football man, he loves the game, he's very passionate and one of the teams over the past couple of years has been Fermanagh, getting to the All-Ireland quarter-final and the performance they put in.

"I don't know what happened but he's an excellent manager, that's all I can say."

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