‘You could have slept’

Former Donegal All-Ireland winner and Ulster winning manager with Cavan, Martin McHugh is extremely critical of modern football as a spectacle. the 45-meter line of their opponents.

He spoke Wednesday at the Allianz Football League launch, which took place in Croke Park with a virtual press conference featuring McHugh – who played in the league final in 1993, the first year of sponsorship, then as Royal Liver – and his son, the current Donegal’s Ryan, were in attendance.

Martin McHugh said he attended Letterkenny IT’s defeat to UCD on Tuesday.

“I happened to be at a Sigerson game last night and we actually had 40 intercounty players playing a game on a perfect night, on a perfect pitch. . . and the match ended 0-7 to 0-6. I think it was 0-2 to 0-1 at halftime. You could have gone to sleep during the second half of the McKenna Cup game in Derry-Donegal.

“That’s the way football is. People say it’s like rugby league; it’s definitely the way it’s played.

“If you look at it – all these tactics, defensive football and the way they play and everything else – from a tactical point of view, I think clubs follow county football and I think club football is terrible to watch.

“They are trying to copy the provincial teams and they are unable to do it because they don’t have the players to do it. So I definitely think that when people start paying money to watch it or stream it and everything else, Gaelic football is at a crossroads.

“If you like tactics” [fine] but 1 percent will study all of that. The other 98 or 99 percent just go for fun; we want to see goals. That’s definitely gone from Gaelic football at this point.

Shock

“I would say that if you keep three players within 45 in all phases, you have to keep three players on the field, [adjudicated by] linesmen. You know people say it would be hard to control that at club level and everything else but I think clubs will follow what interprovincial teams do and it will be easy enough for a referee in a club match.

“A lot of people agreed with me when I said it. I think we should do something about that.”

He was also shocked by the news that five panelists had run away from All-Ireland champion Tyrone. Over the weekend, Tiernan McCann joined Ronan O’Neill, Mark Bradley, Hugh Pat McGeary and Michael Cassidy to leave the county.

“Everyone wants to start and it is very difficult for managers to keep players happy. Looking back, Tiernan McCann came up against Donegal and scored three points from the game and made a big difference. Mark Bradley, the people of Monaghan will tell you that this is the reason was Monaghan got beat in the first half he destroyed them in the first half I led him in Jordanstown and he is a fantastic player and his moves are unreal.

“Hugh Pat McGeary played a lot of games and Ronan O’Neill would make a lot of counties. It is a loss and it is surprising to see players who are not of old age and after winning an All-Ireland leave. I was a bit scared of that.”

When asked about Dublin’s prospects, he quoted former Dublin player and UCD coach Ger Brennan, whom he met during Tuesday’s Sigerson game.

“He told me that when you have players of the quality of Paul Mannion, Jack McCaffrey, Stephen Cluxton and Diarmuid Connolly, you just can’t replace them. They are once in a lifetime players, come by and you can’t replace them.

“That sums it up.”

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