Whoever pulls the levers in the control tower above generally has to close one door in order to open another. Now read on…
Thus, one of the greatest talent academies in the county for Gaelic football must acquire a new director of operations after it was tonight confirmed the head of talent procurement will give full devotion to the good ship Meath Football.
Yes, it’s definitely the end of one era and beginning of another. Tonight, Colm O’Rourke confirmed that he will consign the Roll Book to the shelf and retire as Principal of St Patrick’s Classical School in Navan at Christmas. In order to concentrate wholly on the Meath job.
To peruse a list of footballing past pupils to pass through the halls of the Moatlands educational facility is to gaze at some of the finest footballers ever to pull on a green and gold jersey.
The rest of this column could be consumed reeling off the names of those who have pulled on the famed yellow and black jersey. But for one thing somebody would surely be left out, and for another, now isn’t a time to dwell on the past. Rather, to look forward to what will hopefully be exciting and successful times ahead.
Which is what tonight’s event at which Colm was speaking focussed on. Specifically, the unveiling of a new regionally based competition wherein players from Intermediate and Junior clubs will be afforded the opportunity to pitch their case for inclusion in the former Skryne forward’s plans heading into 2023.
Essentially, what the regional competitions amount to are county team trials under a more respectable name. Just as Sean Boylan had done in his last few years as manager and is – or at least was – standard practice in the selection of county underage teams.
If one was to look for another comparable scenario where teams are amalgamated to compete as one, Cork and Kerry both have Divisional teams in their top adult championships while they – and at least two other counties – run Divisional Championships as completely separate entities to the ‘actual’ county championships.
What is perhaps most intiguing about the developments announced tonight is the identity of those who will take charge of the regional teams. For the contests which will begin on October 25th and then take place on Tuesday and Wednesday nights throughout November.
Contrary to earlier utterances, the new manager has not thus far found roles for others who are known to have offered assistance in whatever way it may be required.
Anyway, when the regional competition has concluded, an amalgam therefrom will then be selected – presumably along the lines of the Green Stars teams of a previous era.
They, in turn, will take on An mBainisteoir’s first Meath lineup, on the occasion of the recently turned 65-year-old’s maiden audience with the dug out whilst resplendent in the Bainisteoir top.
Organising the teams will be former Meath players Cathal O’Bric (All Ireland MFC winning manager 2021), Ger Robinson, Brian Farrell and Brendan Murphy, as well as newly appointed Meath Ladies boss Davy Nelson.
Outside of those with county experience, also helping out will be David Nolan, Niall Flynn, Kieran Rohan, Anthony Malone and Eoin Carroll. The geographic breakdown and first round pairings for the new competition are as follows:
Bru na Boinne (Duleek/Bellewstown, St Patrick’s, St Vincent’s and St Mary’s) Managers Niall Flynn and Kieran Rohan. Coaches Ronan Sheridan Paul Callaghan
Loughcrew (Oldcastle, Ballinlough, Moylagh and St Brigid’s) Manager Davy Nelson. Coaches Vinny Ryan Martin Blake Gerry Gibney Paddy Gilsenan
An Tuascairt (Syddan, Meath Hill, Nobber, Castletown, Drumconrath and Kilmainhamwood) Manager Brian Farrell. Coaches Tadgh Boyle Rory McGuire Thomas Tierney Mark Weldon
Darnley (Dunderry, Clann na nGael, St Ultan’s, and Cortown) Managers Anthony Malone and Eoin Carroll. Coaches Tom Hanley Conor Brennan Kieran Shankey
Bru na Boinne v Loughcrew
An Tuascairt v Darnley