Home is where the heart is as old boys reunite

We’re in that strange time of the GAA year, when club competitions around the country are winding down, but the restart of the inter county fare still feels a long way off. Or does it?…

As you will (hopefully) have seen on these pages during the week, the Meath Regional Football Championships kicked off in the past few days. In other counties, Divisional competitions are treated with the utmost respect and seriousness.

The winning thereof is considered to be a very big deal indeed. Hope would be that, with time, the same will be the case with the Meath equivalent. At the very least, though, the Regionals should be regarded as an expo for players to put themselves in the shop window in relation to inter county call ups.

Of course, if the hideous idiots in the GPA have their way, the wait for inter county action will be even longer as they seek the abolition of the pre-season competitions. The O’Byrne, McGrath, McKenna and FBD Cup contests in football and Kehoe, Walsh and Waterford Crystal ones in hurling.

Fair play to the Connacht Council, they have already signalled their intent to kick on with their FBD competition. All matches therein are to be played in the province’s GAA Dome. Though I wouldn’t even have agreed to change the competition format for the cranks.

Anyway, you’d imagine inter county managers will have to proceed along the lines that the pre-season competitions will go ahead until they hear otherwise.

With that in mind, those who haven’t already will be busily trying to finalise their backroom teams. There have already been some highly significant appointments. Such as Eamon O’Shea with the Galway hurlers, Mickey Graham being drafted into Leitrim by Andy Moran, Ciaran Meenagh linking up with the Down footballers, and so on.

However, aside from the addition of the just retired Kevin McLoughlin to Tony McEntee’s Sligo ticket, there’s no doubt the most high profile – and surprising – appointment has to be the one announced this evening – the supplementing of Trevor Giles to Colm O’Rourke’s Meath entourage.

The iconic sleeveless jersey during the season Trevor made his own

Now, chances are the retired Principal didn’t envisage having to realign his inner sanctum so quickly but the move was more or less forced upon him when Paul Garrigan and Eugene Eivers decided to jump ship.

It will be admitted, however, that I was more than a little surprised to learn Trevor was aboard. Though only in one way. Viewed through a different however, it was quite likely to happen if the opportunity arose.

History has proven that home is very much where the heart is with some people even though they have long flown the nest. So the installing of Trevor is very much a reunion of the old boys club.

It’s not the first time the county’s answer to Johnny Sexton or Lionel Messi has been involved in a coaching capacity with the county seniors, having previously been involved during Mick O’Dowd’s tenure.

Indeed, even though it’s a fair while ago now, it’s worth remembering that the former Skryne teammates (and Liam Harnan) previously had a spell in charge of the county U-21s – as they were then – together. That said, Trevor’s introduction at this stage is – to this observer at least – quite a surprise.

Firstly as it would have been felt there were others with their head above the parapet in terms of having advertised what they could bring to the role. More importantly than that, though, he had been doing great work with county underage teams most recently and it will be disappointing if he has to forego same in order to take the role with the Seniors.

Mind you, the other side of that coin is, naturally to have somebody of Trevor’s experience and status in the game come on board is bound to be a boon for any team with which he would align. Furthermore, his appointment is more evidence that – as with any management ensemble with any team – no stone will be left unturned in the pursuit of betterment. Indeed, if my sources are anywhere near right, there might be even more ‘stand up and fight’ to be added to the pack yet!

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