By Peter McNamara, @PeterMcNamara_
Joe Brolly may have suggested it is essentially a chore for players to represent their county in the Gaelic football sphere these days but Stevie McDonnell disagrees with the Derry native’s views players will lose interest in performing at the top grades due to over-exertion.
Brolly has bemoaned the present state of the code and the 'win-at-all-costs' mentality that exists within it.
Furthermore, the RTÉ Sunday Game pundit believes the enjoyment levels associated with stepping out on to the field with inter-county teammates is dwindling at an alarming rate.
However, 2003 Footballer of the Year, McDonnell, offers a more pragmatic viewpoint of the game's current plight.
In fact, the Armagh U21 manager stated he would jump at the opportunity to operate in the senior inter-county realm if his years allowed it.
“I would agree with Joe Brolly’s thoughts on the whole subject of how tough it can be for players at the highest levels nowadays, but only to an extent,” McDonnell said. “If you asked me would I still like to be playing inter-county football, I would absolutely love the chance to.
“I would jump at the chance to be playing the game now at those levels.
“The level of preparation and training is serious and there is no doubt it is more professional than ever for players.
“The reality is though, there is no player participating with their county team that is not enjoying it.
“And even if they are not, they can easily opt out of it.”
McDonnell opined that all players at inter-county levels are encouraged to express themselves in their respective games and are therefore not curtailed by performance restrictions.
“I look at the number of players, almost a thousand inter-county footballers across the country, and I would say the vast majority of those guys enjoy what they are doing.
“It is not a case of players being unhappy and not being able to express themselves, they are encouraged to do that.
“Sometimes, though, the desire to win within individuals and then groups leads to players not expressing their full array of skills, but that is not something that occurs consciously.
“The need to be competitive means players with a winning mentality work towards being competitive.
“That’s just the nature of the beast really.
“I believe each player involved enjoys it but it is tough too, obviously,” he added.
Interesting piece from @JoeBrolly1993 Defo worth a read!!!— Emlyn Mulligan (@emlynmulligan) January 11, 2015
You can see the rest of Stevie McDonnell's interview in Friday's Evening Echo.