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'You Look At Neil McGee, 35 He Is Now, It’s Hard To See Them Reaching Those Ages'

'You Look At Neil McGee, 35 He Is Now, It’s Hard To See Them Reaching Those Ages'

Former Donegal footballer Leo McLoone believes long careers in Gaelic football could be a thing of the past due to increased demands on players.

McLoone retired in January of last year, aged just 30, having made his Donegal senior debut in 2008. The 2012 All-Ireland winner player more than 100 games for the county.

"As we know, it’s demanding now at the minute," said McLoone.

"It was a long spell and Donegal’s a big county, there’s a lot of travelling involved so yeah, got involved very young alright and I suppose maybe it would have had an impact in terms of maybe cutting the career a bit short.

"But I always wanted to give the club (Naomh Conaill) a good few years at the end of my career and give them something back as opposed to coming back at an older age, a bit older and not be fit to give them as much.

"It’s kind of worrying at the minute. Players, the demands has increased for players and I do feel - I don’t want to predict the future - but I suppose it’s going to be harder for players to keep a long playing career.

"You look at Neil McGee, 35 he is now, that’s kind of hard to imagine some of the players with the demands that are there now, it’s hard to see them maybe reaching those ages in terms of when they’re going to retire.

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"Strength and conditioning is a huge thing now and maybe back years ago it wasn’t as prevalent so there’s a lot of... you’re going at least five or six days a week and players obviously have jobs as well, so it’s difficult, it can be difficult.

"It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out, but it’ll be hard for players to play well into their 30s at inter-county level I think in the future."

leo mcloone donegal long careers gaa

Pictured at the launch the 2021 EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Championship is Leo McLoone, Donegal U20 management team. EirGrid, the state-owned company, is charged with delivering a cleaner energy future for Ireland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile</h6

Towards the end of his inter-county career McLonne was no longer a regular starter under Declan Bonner.

"I see where the management was coming from, definitely, in one sense," said McLoone.

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"The game has moved, compared to 10 years ago, maybe less, the game has moved to… it’s a lot faster. That wouldn’t be my game. But I would have felt that there would have been other things that I could have brought to the table.

"It’s not all about running and there’s a bit of thinking in the game still left as well. I could see where the management was going and I wanted to give the club a lock of years before I would be going back to them crocked as such so no, look, it was the way it was.

"I suppose I took the plunge, it’s never an easy decision to do and that was the way it worked out."

See Also: Jim McGuinness Has No Sympathy For Ronan McNamee After Red Card

leo mcloone donegal long careers gaa

leo mcloone donegal long careers gaa

PJ Browne
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