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Sligo football suffers with Rovers, rugby & hurling to compete against

Sligo senior football manager Tony McEntee believes soccer, rugby and hurling pose a severe chall...



Sligo football suffers with Ro...
Football

Sligo football suffers with Rovers, rugby & hurling to compete against

Sligo senior football manager Tony McEntee believes soccer, rugby and hurling pose a severe challenge in the county to his interests in attracting players to Gaelic football. 

Recently ratified for a second year in the job, the Armagh native joined OTB AM to share his concerns with the current senior football championship and how it worked against counties such as Sligo.

Highlighting the systemic challenges that result in too few games for the commitment required of players over months in preparation, McEntee also suggested that alternative sports were an issue in the county.

Alongside Sligo Rovers and a number of junior soccer clubs, Sligo Rugby Club is another outlet for players seeking team sports beyond Gaelic games.

"The biggest problem we have in Sligo is the soccer," he suggested, the full interview with Tony McEntee from Thursday's OTB AM available to watch here.

"Soccer does well, [but] I think in my view it is slightly fool's gold looking at the soccer piece because I'm not sure there's that many homegrown Sligo players playing with Sligo [Rovers].

"The second we would have then would be potentially rugby [and] we've a few players that would be very good at the rugby as well and Connacht Rugby would be reasonably strong.

Despite the traditional affinity with Gaelic football in the county, however, McEntee suggested that it is in fact hurling that now poses the most direct threat to his team selection.

"For good or bad," he began, "the actual issue that impacts us most in the football end is the hurling.

"We have quite a crossover of players who are very good for us on the football side that also are very good for Sligo at their level on the hurling side.

"This presents an issue for us as a small county because we have 23 clubs in Sligo at the minute, 50,000 people in total, and in a short season it is impossible, impossible to play two sports."

Sligo hurling has undergone a transformation in recent years winning both the Lory Meagher Cup (2018) and Nicky Rackard Cup (2019) to earn a place in the hurling championship's third tier, the Christy Ring Cup.

Due to tireless work at grassroots level, hurling has become a more appealing outlet for young players seeking to compete in an environment where Sligo face counties of similar stature.

"I know this isn't a big issue elsewhere," the Armagh native stated. "Dual sports people are just simply a rarity at this stage.

"If we could accommodate it we would have four, five possibly in Sligo who play hurling that we would like on the football panel."

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All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Christy Ring Cup Gaelic Football Hurling Sligo Tony Mcentee

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