Spurned three times, Colm O’Rourke fears he’ll never get to manage Meath

Colm O'Rourke has revealed that he tried to become Meath manager on three occasions but was knocked back each time and now believes his chance has gone for good.
Spurned three times, Colm O’Rourke fears he’ll never get to manage Meath
Broadcaster Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke has revealed that he tried to become Meath manager on three occasions but was knocked back each time and now believes his chance has gone for good.

It was widely anticipated that the two-time All-Ireland winner would manage Meath at some point following the end of his 20-year inter-county playing career in 1995.

But while he went on to manage Ireland and to enjoy success on the club and college front with Meath teams, he never took on the top job in the Royal County.

In a wide-ranging interview with the We Are Meath podcast, Sunday Game analyst O'Rourke insisted he couldn't have done any more to land the job and is happy now to 'rest my case'.

"People don't seem to realise that I went for the Meath job at least two...I think on three occasions, and I've been turned down at all times," said O'Rourke, who managed Simonstown Gaels to back to back Meath SFC titles in 2016 and 2017.

"People say, 'Ah, he's not interested in managing Meath'. I actually went for the job and didn't get it. Obviously they were very bright people in the group that were giving out the job on those three occasions that I applied and went forward for interview!

"I've been interviewed for the job, several times, and I didn't get it. So I can do no more than that. I rest my case. Probably it's too late on that one as well."

The 1991 Footballer of the Year also revealed he still harbours deep regrets about not winning his third All-Ireland medal that year.

Meath overcame Dublin after a four-game Leinster championship saga but came up two points shy of Down in the All-Ireland final.

O'Rourke referenced the current Netflix documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls when he said that '91 was that Meath team's 'Last Dance' and should have been their 'crowning glory'.

O'Rourke himself battled pneumonia ahead of the final and didn't start though came on and pushed Down hard late on before time literally ran out.

"I think the referee blew the game up within a few seconds of the 70 minutes," said O'Rourke. "If it was now there'd have been another five minutes played, we'd have saved it with another five minutes. Because we'd have got two more points, no doubt about that. If it was the modern type of thing were so many (minutes are added)....like, there were injuries in that game and he bloody well didn't play any time at all."

O'Rourke described the All-Ireland winning Meath teams of 1996 and 1999 which contained players like Trevor Giles, Graham Geraghty, John McDermott, Darren Fay and Ollie Murphy as unique in the history of the Association.

"In the whole of the country, if you picked out the best five or six players at any one time, they all played with Meath at that time," claimed O'Rourke. "There's very few other times you'd pick out the five or six best footballers in the country and say they all played with one team."

Meath haven't won an All-Ireland since 1999 and their last Leinster success was a decade ago, a fall off that has puzzled secondary school principal O'Rourke.

"I can't see any reason why Meath as a rural county shouldn't be like Kerry and be competitive the whole time," he said.

O'Rourke paired son and former Meath star Shane up with powerful Conor Nash in midfield when Simonstown won their Meath SFC titles. Nash was snapped up by Aussie Rules outfit Hawthorn in 2017, robbing the Meath seniors of a key player.

"He would add a lot to it because he's a fantastic athlete," said O'Rourke. "His ease of movement across the ground is something that I haven't nearly seen in any player. He seemed to just glide around when he was playing at midfield. he would have added a lot."

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