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Inter-county players not surpr...
Football

Inter-county players not surprised by striking number of opt-outs

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

05:02 11 Jan 2020

Cork's Mark Collins and Roscommon's Conor Cox say they are not surprised by the growing number of players who are opting out of playing inter-county GAA.

With the demands of inter-county ever-increasing, recent figures suggest that as many as 60 players have called a halt to their GAA careers ahead of the new season.

Speaking on The Saturday Panel, Collins and Cox said that the number of those departing is completely understandable.

"I'm not really overly surprised to be honest with you because it is a massive commitment. For seven or eight months of the year, your life probably revolves around it," Collins accepted of the sport's commands.

"For me personally, since I can remember I have wanted to play for Cork and that was a dream of mine. So it's always a great honour to represent your county and play with Cork and personally I never made that decision.

"I came on the panel at 22 and Cork had just won the All-Ireland and I thought that Cork were probably very close to winning another one."

While Collins never made the decision to opt-out to travel or to chase professional sport in Australia he maintains it's a decision he won't regret.

"I never got to go to America or ever make that decision to go away but personally I would never regret it. I loved every one of the years that I was there so definitely no regrets."

With each player having their own career and life aspirations, many, Cox added, can't be begrudged for not giving up the majority of their young years to GAA.

"I think the average age is between 20 and 30 and that's a window of opportunity to get a bit of travelling done before you're in a role where you can't get away for a summer or year to get your travelling done.

"At the end of the day, people want to travel. We want to go travelling. I was lucky enough I'd done a bit of travelling but I'd never hold it against anyone who'd want to take a year out or a bit of time to travel."

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All-ireland Conor Cox GAA Mark Collins

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