herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Workload of boss not for thin skinned

HAVE you ever wondered the matters an intercounty managerial hopeful and his bosses in the county board have to consider before a deal is signed off on? Such a requirement is sitting on my desk these past few days and the list is a long one.

It appears to me that forming a working relationship remains perhaps the most basic building block and a by-product of that will be the idea of respect and integrity being pillars of that relationship.

Once there is an element of trust the talks can begin and while a new manager's clear focus must always be the narrow obsession with winning trophies, there are other matters, often at odds with that focus, that need attention.

The club is positioned front and centre in the world of the GAA but it is reasonable to suggest, this is often a half-hearted positioning because at the end of the day, the intercounty scene drives the finances, the media exposure and general public sentiment for the games. And so, very often, lip service is paid to the needs of the club. But that balance has tipped dramatically I believe and there is a real sense that clubs are beginning to fight back.

Donegal might well be the last county to get away with clubs sidelined throughout a championship summer but then again, should they win Sam, all might well be forgiven.

THRILLING

On the other hand, following their thrilling All-Ireland hurling final draw, Kilkenny has decided to go ahead with championship games two weeks shy of the the replay. It's hard to know what is best.

Then there is the problem of the U21s and their release to train for their championship. On the face of it, of course they should be available but then they lose four or five months of skill, tactical and physical improvement training. Another dilemma but one surely that must put the player at the centre as a solution is sought?

Then there is the need for training camps, possibly abroad but most certainly at home. Can they be afforded? Where do they slot into a busy calendar? And what is the ruling from Croke Park on these camps? Again, more stuff to ponder.

The backroom team, as mentioned last week, will range from mid-twenties back down to around a dozen or so personnel. Most are professionals and must be paid while the volunteers must be trained so as to act like professionals.

This is what the modern player demands. How big is your panel? What size is manageable? What about a development squad? Questions, questions.

And at the end of all these negotiations another more basic question arises: can I do this job? Down Mayo way, such an appointment remains, thankfully, one of the biggest appointments in Gaelic games. The wadded pressure is the expectation, actually no, the demand, that an All-Ireland title must be won. Any other result is equated to failure and there is just no other way of dressing that up.

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