Football

Sean Quigley: Gaelic football could be facing tipping point

Work commitments have forced Sean Quigley to step away from the inter-county scene
Work commitments have forced Sean Quigley to step away from the inter-county scene Work commitments have forced Sean Quigley to step away from the inter-county scene

FERMANAGH forward Sean Quigley has warned that Gaelic football is fast approaching a tipping point in terms of demands on players’ times.

Work commitments have seen the Roslea man step away from the Erne County set-up as they prepare for life in Division Two of the National League next year, with the 31-year-old admitting it was “probably very unlikely” his inter-county career would be resumed at a later point.

Having burst onto the scene at 18, Quigley has witnessed the evolution of the game in terms of tactics and commitment required on and off the field – and fears it could “blow up” if a better balance is not struck.

“I stepped away during the first year of Covid and it really opened up my eyes to not just the stuff that you can do, but the likes of your girlfriend – it takes away an awful lot from them when you’re away every weekend as well as evenings through the week.

“Especially now, it’s four or five nights a week, and that’s the baseline. That’s not including sending 20 videos out to you every day to review, maybe look at a player for 20 minutes then go to the match and he’s not even playing.

“There’s too much in it and, for me now at 31, with regards to work and in general, it’s too much time and effort, probably for what you’re getting out of it. That’s maybe harsh enough, but that’s just the way I think - you’re not getting the same out of it now as you’re putting in.

“Even for younger lads, you need to have a balance because it’ll blow up and next thing they don’t want to be playing football because there’s no enjoyment in it.”

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Since Roslea’s championship campaign ended, Quigley has been enjoying playing soccer with Orchard Farm.

“We have a boy like Rory Delay with the throw-in, so we’re like the Fermanagh and Western version of Stoke City…”

Stationed up top, he has been among the goals lately, bagging a hat-trick in the Tempo outfit’s 4-1 win over Maguiresbridge last week. Quigley has grown wearisome of the ongoing debate about a more defensive approach in Gaelic football, but admits the changing role of the inside forward leaves him cold.

“If I was getting annoyed over a game of football I’d be asking questions of myself, but in terms of getting frustrated, ask inside forward playing a higher level of football and they’ll feel the same.

“The Scotstown-Trillick game was an absolute corker, but it wasn’t a game for forwards. Lee Brennan did most of his best work out around the 45, even dropping as deep as the 65 to get on the ball and make things happen. Whatever ball he won inside, he was surrounded straight away.

“It’s a pity because they’re the players - with the greatest respect - that people are paying money in to watch, and you’re not getting to see the best of them any more. Obviously that’s a credit to the other teams, and you play the card you’re dealt.

“It’s frustrating for an inside forward trying to put their stamp on things, but that’s the way game has gone.”