Evans slams American ‘poachers’

TIPPERARY boss John Evans has slammed the “poaching” of some of his top stars by American clubs.

Evans had to plan without goalkeeper Matthew O’Donnell and attackers Peter Acheson and Conor Sweeney for Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC qualifier defeat against Laois in Portlaoise.

The trio are spending the summer in the United States, with Sweeney and Acheson playing for the Sean Treacys club in San Francisco, while O’Donnell is in Boston, playing with Galway and Wexford in football and hurling respectively.

Sweeney scored a point against Kerry in last month’s Munster SFC quarter-final before Acheson replaced him late in the game, while O’Donnell impressed between the posts.

Evans has now revealed that his young guns were earmarked months ago for a trans-Atlantic switch after the Munster SFC draw pitted Tipperary against Kerry in the Munster championship.

A similar situation unfolded in the summer of 2010 when Evans lost Ciaran McDonald, Chris Aylward and Alan Moloney to summer stints in the USA following defeat to the Kingdom.

But Kerry native Evans has vowed that a similar situation will not be allowed to unfold if, as expected, he is in charge again next year.

He fumed: “I’m instilling a mindset into the players where ye can go and compete against and beat Kerry and these clubs are saying, ‘hey, forget it lads, we have a great job over here for you and a great club to play for. We’ll pay ye – ye are roaring certainties to be beaten’. That’s what I’m angry about, that’s what I’m upset about.

“I would wish young fellas to have the best opportunity – but when the season is over, when the final whistle blows and you’re knocked out.

“Plan (that) you play football for your county for the whole season, not for half the season. I’m particularly annoyed with Tipperary people poaching our own players, setting them up and feeding them the wrong mindset, the wrong signal and telling them that they’re going to be beaten by Kerry.

“And if we draw Cork next year, they’re going to take five are they? “Where do you stop? It’s hard to blame young fellas, they’re in college. They’re being offered a lot of money into their top pocket but it’s something for another day and it’s something that will be addressed.”

He added: “It will be one of the criteria that I will be marking down next year. A team like Tipperary, we cannot be training, investing money and a lot of professional people to send our players across the Atlantic Ocean for other clubs to reap the rewards. Not any more – Tipperary can’t afford to do that.”

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