GAA Football

Gearoid Adams explains his decision to walk away from Antrim

Out-going Antrim joint manager Gearoid Adams says the nominations process and annual review could have been better handled

ANTRIM’S out-going joint football manager Gearoid Adams has criticised how the nominations process was conducted in the county and questioned the value of the football review committee that conducted end-of-year interviews.

Adams walked away from the post after a nominations process was announced.

His managerial cohort Frank Fitzsimons allowed his name to go forward before the Lamh Dhearg man became disillusioned and he too walked away from the managerial selection process.

Fitzsimons was the only name the county board was presented with after the August 14 nominations deadline passed.

However, the newly appointed football review committee sought ‘expressions of interest’ from other parties and a week later three other names were announced as managerial candidates – Aidan O’Rourke, Lenny Harbinson and John McKeever.

It was then Fitzsimons walked away. The three candidates are expected to be interviewed over the next week.

“In the GAA, once you mention a nominations process - especially whenever Frank and me had approached the county board to say we were keen to stay on for another year or two - once that was done, I saw the writing on the wall.”

In a wide-ranging interview, the former Antrim defender described the treatment of Fitzsimons by Antrim officialdom as “abysmal”.

Adams said: “Frank deserved a lot better. Frank is the type of guy the county board should be looking for and be utilised in some capacity, whether it’s bringing young players through or whatever because he knows Antrim football like the back of his hand.”

While supportive of the creation of a three-man review committee for both football and hurling, Adams insisted it needed to be more interactive rather than waiting to conduct an end-of-year interview.

“There probably could have been a bit more transparency, more communication,” he said.

“This year things were changed slightly. The county board created a bit of distance by having a review committee which puts a lot of pressure on the review committee as they have to pick the right man for the job.

“They are the power brokers now – they are the ones who will appoint the next Antrim management team. They are basically representatives of each of the three contenders for the job now, so it’s going to be interesting to see who gets it.”

The St John’s man added: “But you have to ask: what is the point of a review committee - a yearly conversation?

“Is it a box-ticking exercise or should they be more hands-on?

“It shouldn’t be just asking us about a few National League games they watched or based on our Championship performances.

“They should really be asking us questions about our training, watching what we do, coming in to watch our tactical and video analysis and then coming to us and saying: ‘We thought that was good’, or ‘We think you can improve on that’, rather than at the end of the year getting a bit of feedback from a few players and asking some questions – some that were relevant and some I agreed with, while there were other questions that were completely ridiculous.

“You can only learn so much from a two-hour conversation. You learn more from coming and watching a session once a week and seeing what the atmosphere’s like and how players are getting on. All that type of stuff. Our review felt like an add-on.”

Adams did, however, acknowledge that trying to drive Gaelic Games in Antrim was a "thankless role" of the county board's and appreciated the historic debt it had inherited since the group 'Saffron Vision' swept to office two seasons ago.

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