GAA Football

Tony McEntee: Was I surprised Mickey Harte went to Louth? I didn't see it coming but why not?

Mickey Harte was appointed manager of Louth this week. Picture: Seamus Loughran.
Andy Watters

ANY implication that experienced managers are “too good” for Division Four has been blown out of the water by this week's events, says new Sligo boss Tony McEntee.

The former Armagh All-Ireland winner will cross swords with old rivals Enda McGinley (Antrim) and Mickey Harte (Louth) next year and he'll also have vastly-experienced Cavan native (Terry Hyland) to contend with in the action-paced fourth tier.

“Let's be fair, a lot of the profile is on the top division and the rest don't really get a lot (of attention),” said McEntee.

“If it adds a bit of profile to those players and there's more spectator interest, well isn't that all a positive?

“Any implication that Terry or Mickey or any high calibre manager with vast experience is too good to go to Division Four is well dispelled now. They are quality managers who are taking on a new team and they want to get success. It's great for the Division and the teams in involved.

“Was I surprised Mickey went to Louth? I didn't see it coming but why not? Why not take on a county that is ambitious to improve and has the facilities and the back-up and the set-up to do that?

“Sligo have the same thing. They have a good centre of excellence there, the ambition within the county board and the players as well.”

During three years travelling “over and back” to coach Mayo, McEntee found that he was able to make the five-hour round trip fit in alongside his work and family commitments. He also become immersed in the nuances of Connacht football.

“There is still a gap between the three big teams (Mayo, Galway and Roscommon) and ourselves but I am familiar with the set-up over there and, most important of all, the people are hugely supportive GAA people who wear their hearts on their sleeves and they get behind the teams,” he said.

He met last night with management team Joe Keane (trainer) and Sean Boyle (strength and conditioning coach) to begin the process of selecting a panel with an eye on next year's National League beginning in mid-February.

“If that is the case we'll be hoping to start training sooner, rather than later,” he said.

“The rest of the management team will have a good view on who is there, who is coming through and who else is available in the county. Coming in as an outside person, what I'd be saying (to players) is that all doors are open at this stage.”

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GAA Football