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Paul Bealin joins calls for inter-county payment plan

By Declan Bogue

Another inter-county manager departing the scene has insisted that it is only a matter of time before county management becomes a paid role.

Paul Bealin, the Dublin All-Ireland winner in 1995, was recently unseated as Westmeath football manager after a year spent without a single win across the O'Byrne Cup, Division One of the National League, and the Leinster and All-Ireland championships.

However, he believes that the demands of a manager no longer matches a part-time hobby.

"Anyone is wasting their time on a full-time job trying to manage a county team going forward," he said.

"You have got to put in a 40 or 50-hour week at a minimum to get it right, so that you can at least compete with the best teams. The GAA is going to have to look at that.

"They may eventually have to look at a scenario where they will fund inter-county managers, take it out of county board expenses, where they would agree a flat rate for everybody. This needs to be looked at from the top down."

This advice comes not long after another outgoing manager, James Horan of Mayo, articulated his thoughts on where the game was going. As a high-ranking employee of Coca-Cola in Ireland, Horan is believed to have sacrificed career progression through his involvement with the GAA.

While at the recent All-Stars tour, he said about the large support teams in place around county teams: "In a lot of cases you have a manager who is managing the whole group. He's putting in crazy stuff and he's not getting paid. And that's the case in a lot of counties.

"That's not sustainable. I genuinely don't think it is."

However, the prospect of moving into a semi or fully-professional organisation was rubbished by GAA President Liam O'Neill.

He may be in the last year of his term, but he is holding steadfast to his traditional views when he says: "There is nothing being asked of inter-county managers, nothing being asked. They decide themselves what they want to give and how they want to run their county. You can't legislate for that."

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