| 20.8°C Dublin

No sacrifice to play for county so give it your all - Boylan

"Don't start saying it's a fierce burden having to train and play, that drives me around the twist"

Close

Seán Boylan celebrates his fourth All-Ireland success in 1999 with Graham Geraghty. Photo: Sportsfile

Seán Boylan celebrates his fourth All-Ireland success in 1999 with Graham Geraghty. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Seán Boylan celebrates his fourth All-Ireland success in 1999 with Graham Geraghty. Photo: Sportsfile

Seán Boylan is emboldened by the prospect of inter-county action returning later this year with the Meath legend expecting several shocks during the straight knockout football championship.

There will be no second chance or a shot at redemption should a high-profile county be shown the exit door and Boylan, who guided the Royals to four All-Ireland SFC titles in his 23-year reign, believes that those with thriving club championships will be best served this winter.

"It's going to be really exciting because you have to win every match. So it's going to be really competitive and lads will be playing with their clubs knowing that they need to up their performances to be ready for county games," he said.

"We won the Centenary Cup in 1984 and that was the first open draw in the history of the game. Who would ever have expected in '84 that Monaghan and Meath would end up in the final? The resurgence from that to this day in both counties has been huge following it.

Beauty

"That's the beauty of this, teams have to be ready. If the club isn't competitive, counties will be in trouble. County players are back with their clubs now and it's up to them to take the thing to a different level. Train as if you're playing for the county and it'll lift the tide in those clubs."

While some county managers are unlikely to be happy about the GAA backtracking on previous statements not to impose sanctions for counties which train collectively before September 14, Boylan is adamant that more trust needs to be shown in players from those at the helm.

"You generally get injured far more often in training than playing actual matches for your club or county, so let's never again have a situation where you play a club championship match on a Saturday and the county manager wants you on a Sunday morning, that's bull****," he said.

"Let's be sensible about it and trust the players. Trust has to come into it from managers. They have to trust their players that they will have themselves in peak condition. You don't need to train every hour that God gives you.

"To have walked by the GAA pitch and not seen kids out there the last couple of months is a killer, but the hunger that will be in everyone when it starts back will be huge.

"It will more than make up for any possible drop in quality because they haven't been training together as much as other years. Let's just make the most of it this year and enjoy it."

Boylan also hopes that talk of inter-county commitment being a weight on players will disappear given the unprecedented health crisis gripping the world at present, as talk of the sacrifices being made boils his blood.

"Don't start saying it's a fierce burden having to train and play, that drives me around the twist, the sacrifices that lads are making. Hang on lads, it's no sacrifice to play football or hurling, you either do it or you don't want to do it," he said.

"That was always the way it was. If someone didn't want to do it then that was okay, that was fine. If you make yourself available, then give it everything you have - and that's the way it should be."

The 77-year-old thought he had seen it all during his lifetime but the coronavirus pandemic forced a rethink with the Dunboyne native "lucky to live on a farm" and be cocooning with his family in splendid isolation.

The purchase of a new bicycle kept him active during lockdown and he implores everyone to go back to basics in all aspects of life.

"This is such an extraordinarily vicious virus that you just have to mind each other. We've had times of flood and snow and winds but they seem to be a bit easier to cope with afterwards, this is a bit like Chernobyl though," Boylan said.

"You can see nothing, you can hear nothing, you can feel nothing but there's something there and that's a very eerie thing.

"The strict regime that we were given was absolutely the right thing to do, because you can't take a chance with it.

"There's so much communication on the WhatsApp and on Facebook now, Jeepers, let's just start talking to each other again. Lift the phone and ring people, it's 30 seconds and it's worth far more than all the texts."