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Highlights on Off The Ball

'Tailteann Cup is a Losers Cup' | McGinley rails against disrespectful GAA

Enda McGinley has heavily criticised the GAA for its mistreatment and disrespectful attitude towa...

'Tailteann Cup is a Losers Cup...

'Tailteann Cup is a Losers Cup' | McGinley rails against disrespectful GAA

Enda McGinley has heavily criticised the GAA for its mistreatment and disrespectful attitude toward counties outside of Gaelic football's elite bracket. 

The Antrim manager stated his belief that counties at the lower end of the competitive spectrum are being treated as an afterthought and deserve greater respect by the GAA.

"I don't like the way the conversation is being shaped at the minute," he told Tuesday's OTB AM, "and we're not going at it the right way.

"The conversation has to be handled well, but the counties have to be respected as much as Dublin or Kerry."

Acknowledging the requirement for structural change if the most amount of inter-county players possible are to retain an active interest in the game, McGinley outlined his distaste for the GAA's attempts to achieve this.

"The Tailteann Cup becomes a bit of Losers Cup," he remarked of the competition introduced for lower tier counties that was shelved due to the pandemic.

"The GAA's plans for the Tailteann Cup and those proposals were insulting. They held no appeal for players, bar some crumbs of being seen to give extra games.

"In no way was the profile of the final being catered for, in no way was things like prizemoney - which should be equal between competitions - being catered for. Across the board, it was a second-class competition.

"[The GAA] essentially said, 'Get out of the way and stay happy with the crumbs you're getting.' For me, that doesn't work."

At the end of his first season as an inter-county manager, Antrim were defeated by Armagh in an Ulster championship quarter-final last weekend.

A three-time All-Ireland winner with Tyrone in his playing days, McGinley recognises the need his players have for meaningful games throughout the year.

While he accepts that his players will always want the respect of challenging for the Sam Maguire Cup, McGinley is aware that the current structure does not facilitate room for weaker counties to develop and reach their potential.

In the proposals set to be put before GAA congress to address the championship's competitive imbalance, he is not feeling especially hopeful about their worth, unfortunately.

"A joke proposal for me," he remarked of Proposal A, about which more can be found here.

Highlighting the club structure of a senior, intermediate and junior level as evidence of how tiered systems with room for development can work, McGinley reiterated the importance of finally fixing this issue at the inter-county level.

"It's not that we have to build up Antrim so they can take on Dublin," he explained. "If that ever comes to pass, well, so be it.

"It is about giving a real profile, real big days, a sense of joy and the potential for proper, respected success for those players to aspire to."

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Antrim Enda Mcginley GAA Gaelic Football Senior Football Championship Tailteann Cup