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'There's more scrutiny now' |...
Football

'There's more scrutiny now' | Donaghy on pressure in GAA in the 2010's

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

12:06 19 Dec 2019

The increased amount of scrutiny players are now subjected to has led to a decline in attractive Gaelic football, according to Kieran Donaghy.

Donaghy was on Off The Ball as part of the 15-hour marathon 'Decade in a Day' and spoke about the emergence of the blanket defence which resulted in less entertaining football in many games throughout the decade.

The former Kerry footballer felt that the emergence of social media where anyone can criticise both managers and players publicly could have played a role in this.

“When you’re trying to win - and it’s become such a results-oriented business these days - it forces teams (to play defensively). [Joe] Brolly and [Pat] Spillane love ‘the great game’ and play it lovely.

“But there wasn’t the scrutiny that there was on players or managers that there was 30 years ago. Teams could just go out and play football and if they lost by seven or eight points it might be in the paper on Sunday and that was it.

“Whereas now it’s all over Twitter that night and the following day, the following day it’s in the local and national papers. The managers are getting it in the ear. Everyone has an opinion and everyone can voice that opinion now.

“The pressure on managers and players to try to get results now is making the game, I would say, tough for a lot of teams at Division 3 and Division 4 level.

“They work so hard all year and inevitably their year ends up in getting a hiding somewhere,” Donaghy said.

How a two-tiered championship can help

The introduction of the two-tiered championship could help to alleviate this problem, however, as there will be fewer mismatches and less of a need for negative tactics.

For this to work, however, the second tier cannot be allowed to drift into obscurity and must be seen as an attractive proposition for players from ‘weaker counties’.

“It’s making it very tough for the so-called ‘weaker counties’ if that’s what you want to call them and why I was a big advocate of the second tier championship if it was done right and if it was marketed right.

“If it’s given massive preference on All-Ireland final day - if this Tier two championship is on the same day as the All-Ireland final," Donaghy said.

Whether the second-tier championship results in less defensive football remains to be seen but it should, at least, result in more competitive football.

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All Ireland Championship GAA Gaelic Football Kieran Donaghy

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