SENAN CONNELL BELIEVES more counties should take advantage of the parentage rule to restore the balance in the All-Ireland football championship.

As the playing numbers in rural areas continue to decline and the population steadily rises in the capital, Connell says more sides should follow the example of Offaly and bring in players who have links to the county.

Kilmacud Crokes forward Shane Horan recently pledged his inter-county allegiance to the Faithful County, where both his parents hail from. 

“We were looking at different ways you could tackle the glut of players that are in Dublin, even just to give lads in Dublin the chance to play inter-county football,” says Connell.

“I think there’s an opening there for other counties to tap into those resources. There’s a lot of guys who wouldn’t mind playing under the parentage rule, playing down the country, to get a chance to play inter-county football.

“There’s so many guys – the Basquels (Ryan and Colm) have Mayo connections. The team I played in, Paul Curran, one of the best ever Dublin footballers ever, his dad Noel won an All-Ireland with Meath. The connections are there, open the door – why not tap into it?”

Clare footballers recruited several ‘outside’ players in the early part of this decade, including Horan’s clubmate Pat Burke who helped the Banner reach the 2016 All-Ireland quarter-final.

eir Sport football pundit Senan Connell.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Connell has strong links to Clare himself through his father. “There’s a lot of Dubs who would spend their summer holidays down with their cousins down the country,” he said.

“I spent a lot of time down in Clare over the summers – my father played with Clare, played Railway Cup too. I was a Dub but I was lucky enough to play with Dublin.”

Would he have considered a transfer to Clare if he wasn’t good enough to play with the Dubs?

“It was a different time back then. If you didn’t make it with Dublin, that was it – you stuck with your county, it was in you to stay.

“I don’t think I would have myself – I was a Dub, a Dub only. The criteria is different now, the openings to play with Dublin that were there in my time aren’t there anymore.

“How many come through now? Maybe one a year. I think, give them the chance to play inter-county football if they want it.”

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eir sport have today announced details of its Allianz Leagues coverage for 2019, while also confirming it will broadcast two games from the Lidl Ladies National Football League. In total eir sport will broadcast fifteen live games in the coming months with up to three live matches available to GAA fans some weekends. The coverage begins on January 26th on the home of live GAA on Saturday nights under lights. 

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