Aidan O'Rourke says that "media interest" is affecting Donegal players
"You can’t be stupid and ignore that."
Donegal manager Aidan O'Rourke has said that the overbearing "media interest" in the county's fortunes has affected certain players.
O'Rourke has stepped in as interim manager following the departure of Paddy Carr, who only last five league games before a meeting with senior players resulted in his resignation.
Matters only went from bad to worse when they got relegated from Division One, and murmurs about problems with the county board continue to fill the back pages of sports papers.
O'Rourke believes that this has put his players through the mill a bit.
‘They have taken a bit of an emotional battering," suggested the Donegal manager.
"But they have the potential to really push on. To be honest, I don’t hear a lot of that noise. I’m not on social media, I’m not in Donegal every day of the week.
"In some ways I’m insulated from all of that. My focus has been quite easy to maintain. There have been times when it might have distracted others."
The Armagh native may be isolated from some of the abuse and negative press, but his players will find it difficult to ignore.
"Anything that affects the squad, affects performance and how they train. And you can’t be stupid and ignore that. That would be stupid. There have been times some players have said they have been affected.
"I’ve never seen a county like Donegal in terms of the media interest. There are papers, websites, podcasts and that’s great. But there is a downside to that too when things aren’t perfect. But I’d like to think there is a steel there now,’ said O’Rourke.
"There’s a lot of really experienced footballers in the group and a lot of quality. That is the total focus and there isn’t a team in the Ulster Championship that we would be afraid of,"said O’Rourke.
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