Meath manager Andy McEntee remains disappointed by Paddy O'Rourke's decision to withdraw from the Royal County panel.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper announced in November that he was quitting because he didn't have "a realistic chance of winning anything". As he prepares his charges for their Leinster SFC opener against Longford on May 27th, McEntee told The Irish Times:
"I think there's huge negativity out there, far too much talk in the media about it, from former players, about the demands of modern intercounty football. If you want to play your sport at the highest level, you've got to put in the hours.
"John Coghlan is our physical trainer, and he's from an athletics background, and he will tell you a good club athlete trains eight or nine hours a week. You've got to put in the effort, the hours. You sign up for it, and if you don't want it, walk away. It's not too much time and effort. It's always been the same. I was involved with Meath in the late '80s and '90s, and there was huge effort put in back then. That's every sport, not just GAA.
"And players are better off now, 100 per cent. It's an education now, as much as anything else. Everyone has their nutritionist, their strength and conditioning coach, lifestyle coaches, are well looked after in regard to expense and facilities, so there are an awful lot more pluses out there than there were 20 years ago. And I wasn't just referring to Paddy there. I was referring to players from 20 years ago, but I think players from all around the country, not just Meath, were disappointed by what he said."