Mayo boss Kelly reveals strain of raising junior profile

Mayo manager John Kelly believes the job of promoting the junior championship within each county has become tougher each year due to constant talk about its possible demise.

The Moy Davitts clubman has found it hard to encourage clubs to send players into his squad due to rumours about the tournament’s dissolution devaluing the worth of the competition.

“We don’t even know if there’s going to be a competition, to be honest with you,” he said.

“They’re on about it saying there might not be one so we’re just going to wait around and see.

“It is disconcerting but you can only take it year on year. It was the same last year, they didn’t know if there would be a competition but it’s hard to know.”

Another challenge for him was a lack of games. Mayo started the championship on May 20 with a Connacht final win over Galway but had to wait until 11 weeks for their next game against Lancashire before facing Kerry on Saturday.

Kerry played two games more on their route to the final and their longest wait between games was a month. While Kelly accepts they were the better team, he wondered could the fixtures be run off faster in a Champions League format, thereby using the competition to develop footballers at inter-county level.

“We can have no excuses. We didn’t start how we wanted to start. They got a run on us and in truth it could have been an awful lot worse at half-time.

“There’s 15 or 16 teams in the competition and if you had a group stage in it where you played four games within a period of time. It would develop players better but it’s very drawn out to try and keep lads at it.

“But the other side of that is club football. A lot of clubs don’t like letting their players going for junior because they don’t have any ‘meas’ in it and we’re being truthful about that too.”

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