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'Lads know there's nothing in...
Football

'Lads know there's nothing in it for them' Hyland on All-Ireland structure after massive Leitrim loss

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

17:50 11 Jul 2021

Leitrim manager Terry Hyland didn't hold back when assessing his side's landslide loss to Mayo in the Connacht Senior Football Championship semi-final on Sunday.

5-20 to 0-11 was the final score at MacHale Park as James Horan's side booked their place in the decider where they'll face Galway in two weeks time.

Darren McHale, Darren Coen, Ryan O'Donoghue and Tommy Conroy all found the back of the hosts.

Speaking to OTB Sports at full-time Hyland said there simply was no contest in the game.

"To be honest with you we were just outclassed, we were probably caught in most areas of the pitch and we just couldn't deliver.

"Everybody seen what they seen, that's the difference unfortunately between the teams in the bottom divisions and the teams in the top divisions.

"It goes back to the makeup of the championships and where it's going and where is football going to end up in this country.

"They call it an all-Ireland but unfortunately it's not an all-Ireland, it's probably top five or six counties."

Leitrim have only ever won two Connacht football titles in their history and the last of these was in 1994.

Sunday's 24 point win, as well as other provincial results we've seen since the championship returned, makes you wonder if the system is broken beyond repair?

"Anybody from division three or four, are they better off playing against their own teams and improving on the back of that and building a bit of confidence?

"Then if they come up against one of the bigger guys with a little bit of something built into them they've an opportunity to see have they improved.

"Going out and getting hidings like that is no good to anybody."

As frustration grows up and down the country, many players have stepped away from the inter-county game, particularly in the so-called 'weaker counties.'

Hyland outlined that it's difficult to motivate players from a county like Leitrim to want to actually want to play for the county.

"The guys in their [Leitrim players] are frustrated, they're in bad form, they'll be the guys who'll get it in the neck for the next three or four days and through no fault of their own.

"A lot of lads are saying they want to go back to their clubs and it's very hard to retain lads in a system if they feel they're going to get a hockeying the next day they go out.

"The system needs to be balanced that it allows players the opportunity to stay on and improve.

"If they go out and get a beating like that they close the kit and don't open it again for six or seven months and they haven't gotten enough game time in between."

"You have the top three or four counties that can probably see themselves winning All-Irelands.

"Another four or five can probably see themselves winning provincials and after that I don't really know what is going to keep them involved.

"It's probably pride in their parish and pride in their county and they've been asked in.

"That's the one thing about Irish people, they always step up when they're asked to do something.

"Do they really believe there's something in it for them at the end of the day? Once the National League is over I don't think so."

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Connacht Football Championship Leitrim GAA Terry Hyland

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