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McBurney/Declan Bogue

Pictured Declan Bogue

Date: Thursday 12th April 2012

Location: BT Offices

Credit: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Copyright: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Liam McBurney - RAZORPIX


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Declan Bogue: Conor Meyler’s Chicago trip highlights the unintended consequences of the split-season

Declan Bogue


Conor Meyler will play in Chicago over the summer

Conor Meyler will play in Chicago over the summer

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Conor Meyler will play in Chicago over the summer

Gaelic Park in Chicago is an incredible venue, boasting banqueting rooms, a cosy Irish Pub going by the name of The Carraig, and sports facilities.

It has a thriving cultural scene operating there including parades, the Chicago Feis, Heritage and Harvest Day and Irish Theatre.

As a wedding venue, it is booked out years in advance.

It is here, rather than Healy Park in Omagh, that Conor Meyler, shortlisted for Footballer of the Year last year, will spend the summer, playing for Chicago club Parnells.

As a supreme footballer, Meyler is going to be in demand.

He spreads himself across a lot of activities and is currently studying a PhD course at the Technical University of the Shannon on Sports Leadership and Gender.

Since winning the All-Ireland with Tyrone, Meyler has had the courage to speak out on social issues, and it has come at a cost of some mockery as he has previously detailed.

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But in general, his life has been fairly hectic for the last two years.

In taking a break from the old routine, he is doing himself a favour that might be felt for years.

Earlier this year, Fermanagh’s long-serving forward Sean Quigley said that the one regret of his career was not spending a summer in America, or doing some travelling in general.

Other high-profile players are making the decision to use this unexpected time to do a bit of travelling.

Teachers — and there is an inordinate amount of them playing Gaelic Games compared to other occupations — have the perfect window to do some travelling now that the split-season has ensured a two-month summer break for those who go out of the Championship in the early stages.

And the bonus is that everyone could be back in time to play their Club Championships in the autumn.

This scenario has been made possible by the split-season.

Some will be unhappy with the effect of unintended consequences as county players leave their club to play league campaigns without them.

You’d be selfish to begrudge them the experience, but the split-season certainly has some way to go.

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