Monday 18 December 2017

Players from the weaker counties will quit - Magee

Wicklow manager Jonny Magee. Photo: Sportsfile
Wicklow manager Jonny Magee. Photo: Sportsfile

Johnny Magee has reiterated his staunch opposition to the 'Super 8' format coming into place next summer, writes Frank Roche.

And the Wicklow manager has predicted that players from the smaller counties, with no realistic chance of making the SFC last-eight stage, will opt out completely.

"It will only be compounded now, with the Super 8," Magee declared. "It will be interesting to see the loss of players, next year - and not just in Wicklow, but all the so-called weaker counties. Just getting fellas committing to county squads. I hope I'm wrong, but I think there will be."

The former Dublin defender continued: "Maybe nine or 10 teams have never competed in the quarter-final stage of the championship, since the back-door came in. And a few more have only played one or two times.

"So there's no extra incentive for those teams."

A more pressing concern is Sunday's Leinster SFC opener against Division 2-bound Louth in Parnell Park. Wicklow have fallen at the first fence, three years running, and after a poor Division 4 campaign go in as 9/2 underdogs.

"Last year we were two points down against Laois, going into the last five minutes," Magee recalled. "The year before against Meath, in Navan, we were in a good position too, and lost by four.

"So look, we have kept some of our best performances for the championship, but we just want to be winning.

"I don't actually care how that com0es on Sunday. But winning now is the only objective."


Joe calls time

Tyrone veteran Joe McMahon has called time on his inter-county career because of recurring injury problems.

The 33-year-old two-time All-Ireland winner confirmed his enforced exit yesterday.

"I have pushed myself to the limits working closely with the Tyrone medical team," he explained, "but I have to accept the reality that it is my body which is saying it's game over. Hopefully though, I will still be able to play with my club, Omagh St Enda's."

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