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Eugene McGee just the man to prick a few of GAA's big egos

By Declan Bogue

Within a typically wide-ranging piece with Paul Kimmage in last weekend's Sunday Independent, veteran journalist and 1982 All-Ireland winning manager Eugene McGee brought us to some wonderful places.

Such as the week as that aforementioned triumph.

Back then, he invited his fellow colleague from the now-defunct Sunday Tribune - no less than a fledging writer called David Walsh - to take part in an Offaly training session the week of their final against Kerry.

Walsh was even part of the huddle when McGee named the team to start the final.

Such access now is unthinkable, but McGee's attitude to it is: "Well, it just shows you the change. Would it do any harm if some of them did that now?

"What harm would it do? Wouldn't it be great PR? There'd be murder over which journalist (was selected) of course!"

The Longford man also took aim and fired at some of his favourite targets, including the inanity of some county players on Twitter: "You could have a fellow saying, 'I had a great feed of bacon and cabbage last night'.

"These are mature, 20-plus, third-level students or graduates! And some of them are so egotistical that they'll put their name to that!"

And of course, the scale of inter-county backrooms was caught in the sightlines: "I mean, Dublin have what, 22 people?"

Every inter-county side need to have a certain number of logistics managers, liaison officers and whatnot, but some could take a leaf out of the example of Mickey Harte.

He has former players Gavin Devlin, in selector and trainer roles, and Peter Donnelly in as Strength and Conditioning coach, as part of a wider remit with his work with the other squads representing the county.

After that, Louis O'Connor is head of the medical team but leaves the matchday work to Red Hands manager Harte's son Michael.

Further family connections come in with Peter Quinlivan who looks after statistical analysis, while they have the usual support staff who keep their distance from the core team and management structures.

With a smaller team, there is less chance of disharmony.

Perhaps less is more, after all.

Belfast Telegraph


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