Ryan McMenamin: 'Croke Park don’t give a f**k about us at the bottom'

Ryan McMenamin has launched a stinging attack on the GAA hierarchy over the Tier Two championship and suggested it is nothing more than a vanity project.
Ryan McMenamin: 'Croke Park don’t give a f**k about us at the bottom'

Fermanagh senior football manager Ryan McMenamin. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Fermanagh senior football manager Ryan McMenamin. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Allianz NFL Division 2

Fermanagh 0-10 Armagh 3-14

Ryan McMenamin has launched a stinging attack on the GAA hierarchy over the Tier Two championship and suggested it is nothing more than a vanity project.

The Fermanagh manager presided over what he admitted what the worst performance by the team since he’s been involved on Saturday night as they suffered a 13-point hammering by Armagh in Brewster Park.

The result leaves Fermanagh staring at relegation from Division Two of the Allianz Football League and potentially a place in the inaugural Tailteann Cup for ‘tier two’ teams this summer.

“The GAA is gone too corporate. We all have to look at ourselves,” said the former three-time All-Ireland winner with Tyrone: “I was out this morning coaching ladies and it was a joy to be out with them. I think the GAA has lost that.

“I can see as manager of a small county that Croke Park don’t give a f**k about us at the bottom.

“Maybe you are not meant to say that but that is my feeling on it.

“People wanted the Tier Two and they got the Tier Two. It is not going to help the smaller counties. To me it was badly thought out. It was rushed and I think it was a job by the president. Everyone wants to leave a legacy now, that is the dream of everybody.”

As someone who played at the top level for so long, ‘Ricey’ McMenamin is seeing things from the other end of the scale in his first year in charge of Fermanagh, following two years as Rory Gallagher’s assistant.

“Tier one is basically for big teams. That is what the Super 8s is all about. Everyone knows it is for the big teams, the top 16. Could it have been done better? Yes, you could have a Tier Two, but not with a five or six week break in between. It is madness.”

Armagh got a dream start with a class finish by Jamie Clarke for a third-minute goal. They had 1-4 on the board before Fermanagh — who were without key players Eoin Donnelly and Che Cullen through injury — pointed from Stephen McGullion after 25 minutes.

Armagh led 1-8 to 0-3 at half time and kicked on in the second half with further goals from Aidan Nugent and Aidan Forker. Rian O’Neill was outstanding again, kicking 0-4 including three points from play on a stormy night in Enniskillen. Armagh narrowly missed out on promotion last year but are looking good to get there this time, and host fellow promotion favourites Roscommon next weekend.

Scorers for Fermanagh: E McManus (0-4, 3f), R Jones (0-2), J McMahon, A Breen, C Corrigan, Stephen McGullion (0-1 each).

Scorers for Armagh: A Nugent (1-2), R O’Neill (0-4, one ‘45’), J Clarke (1-1, 1f), A Forker (1-0), O O’Neill (0-2), R Grugan (0-2, 2f), J Og Burns, N Grimley (0-1), J Duffy (0-1 each).

FERMANAGH: J McGrath; J Cassidy, N Cosgrove, K McDonnell; E Shiels, J McMahon, Shane McGullion; R Jones, R O’Callaghan; A Breen, U Kelm, C Corrigan; Stephen McGullion, E McManus, D McGurn.

Subs: D McCusker for Cosgrove (30), K Connor for Cassidy (38), T Corrigan for Shane McGullion (39), C Jones for O’Callaghan (45), T Bogue for Stephen McGullion (55).

ARMAGH: B Hughes; P Burns, B Donaghy, A Forker; R Kennedy, S Sheridan, A Nugent; N Grimley, O O’Neill; R Grugan, S Campbell, M Shields; J Og Burns, R O’Neill, J Clarke.

Subs: J Duffy for Campbell (54), E Rafferty for Clarke (62), J Morgan for Burns (62), G McCabe for Grugan (66), A McKay for O O’Neill (68)

Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down)

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