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Paddy O'Rourke's Honest Comments Widely Criticised By Offaly Boss And Bernard Flynn

Paddy O'Rourke's Honest Comments Widely Criticised By Offaly Boss And Bernard Flynn
By Gavin Cooney

These last few weeks of have been marked with a number of high-profile GAA players stepping away from the sport, firing a valedictory volley at commitments asked of inter-county players while doing so. To the list of Kieran Bergin, Joe Sheridan, and Brendan Bugler we can add the name of Paddy O'Rourke. The Meath 'keeper stepped away with the increasingly-traditional interview with a bank, O'Rourke was critical of the "head-melting" demands of intercounty game, writing that:

The idea that I had to walk away from inter-county football was nagging at the back of my head in the months before we lost to Donegal last summer.

If we're honest in Meath, we're not getting any closer to where we want to go.

Winning Leinster again or challenging for an All-Ireland doesn't look realistic any time soon, and in fact it feels like it is farther away than ever.

From 2011 to now, the commitment levels have gone through the roof but we've had nothing to show for it.

The interview - which appears to have been taken down - provoked a fairly large reaction, with a flippant reference to Carlow - "How can a Carlow or a Leitrim, for example, expect to make their way into a Super 8 group?" - picked out by Brendan Murphy:

His teammate Darragh Foley chimed in, too:

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Elsewhere, Bernard Flynn criticised the timing of the interview when speaking on 2FM's Game On:

He was very honest and Paddy's entitled to do with his time what he sees fit. He was quite frank that he didn't enjoy the five or six nights a week training.

The timing of it didn't help the squad at the weekend. I went to Breffni Park thinking we had turned a corner for yet another time and I was very disappointed.

Cavan beat us from the first second to the last. That shouldn't happen to that extent...

...Someone has to grab the torch. Some bunch of men in Meath have to say, 'we're going to lead this thing back and compete on a consistent basis...'

If everyone takes Paddy's stance, we won't have any team. So, that can't be the case. We can't say that it's okay for everyone to think that way. It's not okay.

Paddy was very good and a good servant and I've no issue (with him). But at the end of the day, I see his uncle [Colm] and I know what he did for 10 or 12 years when he was winning nothing!

O'Rourke's interview was evidently brought up by journalists over the weekend, with Offaly boss Stephen Wallace highly critical of O'Rouke publicising his views, as he told the Irish Examiner.

What about all the other Meath guys who are happy to be there? What about the Meath guy who is number 25 on the panel, or 36 on the panel?

Don’t stick your two fingers up to the rest of your teammates, especially a guy who has been lucky enough to get trips to Australia played in Leinster finals and all the rest.

Meath are where they are at the minute and his teammates don’t need to be hearing that, but he is not alone.

If you want to walk away, then walk away, but don’t beat the guys who are still at it with a stick.

Some of the criticism of O'Rourke is unfair: he was honest and forthright in airing his views about a serious problem afflicting Gaelic games, and that should be recognised.

See Also: Shane Dowling Believes Many Have Their Head In The Sand Regarding Inter-County Demands

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