O’Rourke completes backroom team

Several additions to new Meath senior football manager Colm O’Rourke had several additions to his backroom team ratified at Monday night’s Co Committee meeting.

The extra recruitment is headlined by the appointment of Paul Garrigan as team trainer, only weeks after the Oldcastle native stood down from a similar role with the county’s back-to-back All Ireland Ladies champions.

Also making the transfer from the ladies to the gentlemen will be Eugene Eivers in the role of Strength & Conditioning Coach. Undoubtedly the most eyebrow-raising addition to Colm’s entourage is the drafting in of former Dublin goalkeeper Shane Supple to coach whichever custodians are selected when push comes to shove.

Shane Supple between the posts for Dublin

The St Brigid’s clubman had an extensive and successful soccer career before impressing with the Blanchardstown outfit. As a result of which he was called up to take on possibly the most thankless job in Gaelic football at the time – sub goalkeeper to Stephen Cluxton.

Since retiring, Supple has held a number of specialist coaching positions, especially as he is now a GAA Academy netminding coach. His ‘capture’ is certainly a coup for the new green regime and will further fuel optimistic excitement even though the new season is still a ridiculous length away.

There’s always two sides to every story and, if there is a downside to tonight’s developments, it is two more of Meath’s recent All Ireland winning think tank who will need to be replaced. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Meath’s ladies will be going for three in a row in 2023.

Aside from that, on a more personal level, I am disappointed that it appears Niall Ronan’s services will not be retained in the new era. The former Leinster, Munster and Ireland backrow forward are around the same age and I have always taken an especial interest in his career.

He was an outstanding underage Gaelic footballer with St Colmcille’s. Facing off against him on Dunboyne teams at the time would have former Meath U-20 football boss Ger Robinson. When Niall’s rugby career concluded, he returned to line out for the seaside club as they made it all the way to the All Ireland Club IFC Final.

It would be a great pity if his coaching expertise were lost to GAA, though it would never surprise me if the green glens came calling to him.

Closer to home, however, all the groundwork has been put in place. The frustrating thing is that, due to the asinine elephant that is the GAA’s split season, it will be almost half a year until we see what the management’s Meath looks like.

No doubt they already have their collective eye on some of those they intend running the rule over going forward. A former power-broker within Meath recently commented “I don’t know how they (CCCC) are going to get all the competitions ran off, there’s such a logjam”.

So much for the split season benefitting clubs, eh? The couple of upsides to the season running on are (a) more time for Colm and his lieutenants to observe more players and (b) every week on which there are fixtures makes the winter a bit shorter for me!

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