National Forum

Colm O'Rourkes article on elitist profile at underage

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Colm O'Rourkes article in the Sunday Independent was a good read re underage players being picked on development squads. He pointed out that so few minors make the grade at senior that this system isn't really a very good idea.
The two points I took from it was that yes he is right..very few do make the grade but the second point is that may be if this is the attitude in Meath then maybe this is where they've been going wrong.
Any Tipp football man will tell you that these developments squads are 90% of the reason there has been such improvement in Tipp football...there can be no doubt about that. There is so little adult club football played in Tipp that unfortunately if you aren't ear marked early it's very unlikely you'll make the breakthrough...albeit there's one or two exceptions.
Regarding his first point...so what if only a few % make it senior...there's more to the GAA than just senior intercounty. These lads will have long lasting memories of representing their county at U14/16.
Its a good article and some good points made but I feel it's only looking from one side of the argument. I'm biased and I don't know what goes on in other counties but I think they're a huge success in Tipp...

tiobraid (Tipperary) - 27/11/2017 10:21:33    2063735

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Interesting article but he seems confused as to whether they're a good idea or not. As with anything development squads will only be as good as the people running them, values are important ie not losing the run of themselves and the importance of club etc. I'd only expect 3/4 from any given year to make it at senior county and the cost of running them for a year wouldn't be much more than what's spent in a week or two on a senior squad

lillyboy (Kildare) - 27/11/2017 19:08:34    2063825

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Something about Meath football that I think is holding it back is there are too many clubs.

You've about 40 teams fielding at underage level in the county. That's great lots of young players playing the game.

The standard probably isn't competitive enough though. The top teams are very good, but a good player at a smaller club playing in division 5 of the grade is going to get less exposure to quality matches.

I think Meath need to consolidate their clubs more at underage level. Get county board organised regional teams playing as a level above the club game. Gets more good games for those missing out through their club.

Development squads are fine but again they don't cater for enough players. If you get more of a pool of players playing quality games you've more chance of producing top players.

The development squads are a little flawed also. The best players at under 14 don't necessarily have the most potential to be quality adult players. Talent spotting at that age is difficult as 2 kids can be developmentally at completely different stages, despite being the same age.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - 27/11/2017 19:31:03    2063828

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Something about Meath football that I think is holding it back is there are too many clubs. You've about 40 teams fielding at underage level in the county. That's great lots of young players playing the game. The standard probably isn't competitive enough though. The top teams are very good, but a good player at a smaller club playing in division 5 of the grade is going to get less exposure to quality matches. I think Meath need to consolidate their clubs more at underage level. Get county board organised regional teams playing as a level above the club game. Gets more good games for those missing out through their club. Development squads are fine but again they don't cater for enough players. If you get more of a pool of players playing quality games you've more chance of producing top players. The development squads are a little flawed also. The best players at under 14 don't necessarily have the most potential to be quality adult players. Talent spotting at that age is difficult as 2 kids can be developmentally at completely different stages, despite being the same age.
Whammo86 (Antrim) - 27/11/2017 19:31:03
I dont think too many clubs is the issue.
If there is 40 teams at each age group/40 clubs thats great but how many divisions is there for teams/clubs to compete at?
A player in a club at a lower level at an age group should be able to play in a higher level in a divisional team or joining with another club
I wouldnt have regional teams playing above club game but as part of club game
That allows smaller clubs keep their own teams while also providing games at higher levels for those who need it

ormondbannerman (Clare) - 28/11/2017 01:16:25    2063853

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Replying To ormondbannerman:  "Something about Meath football that I think is holding it back is there are too many clubs. You've about 40 teams fielding at underage level in the county. That's great lots of young players playing the game. The standard probably isn't competitive enough though. The top teams are very good, but a good player at a smaller club playing in division 5 of the grade is going to get less exposure to quality matches. I think Meath need to consolidate their clubs more at underage level. Get county board organised regional teams playing as a level above the club game. Gets more good games for those missing out through their club. Development squads are fine but again they don't cater for enough players. If you get more of a pool of players playing quality games you've more chance of producing top players. The development squads are a little flawed also. The best players at under 14 don't necessarily have the most potential to be quality adult players. Talent spotting at that age is difficult as 2 kids can be developmentally at completely different stages, despite being the same age.
Whammo86 (Antrim) - 27/11/2017 19:31:03
I dont think too many clubs is the issue.
If there is 40 teams at each age group/40 clubs thats great but how many divisions is there for teams/clubs to compete at?
A player in a club at a lower level at an age group should be able to play in a higher level in a divisional team or joining with another club
I wouldnt have regional teams playing above club game but as part of club game
That allows smaller clubs keep their own teams while also providing games at higher levels for those who need it"
Yeah, what I'd mainly be talking about is not having so many divisions.

You're talking 7 or 8 divisions in Meath underage football.

The county board is very good at providing games at underage level. They have competitions for every year. For key years they'll have a league and championship. Every team will be hitting somewhere around 8-12 games. A kid playing in just around his own age (his year and the one above) will play about 20 matches.

I agree that club shouldn't be gotten rid of. What I'd be talking is about keeping 6-10 of the largest club run on their own with then county board organised amalgamations also playing against them.

There are amalgamations at underage but you're talking 1 or 2 small clubs who are still fielding teams at the lower levels. I think the system just needs more formalised and the goal isn't just to field. The goal is to get more teams capable to compete with the large east Meath clubs.

They can also play for their clubs too.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - 28/11/2017 10:35:48    2063874

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Replying To Whammo86:  "
Replying To ormondbannerman:  "Something about Meath football that I think is holding it back is there are too many clubs. You've about 40 teams fielding at underage level in the county. That's great lots of young players playing the game. The standard probably isn't competitive enough though. The top teams are very good, but a good player at a smaller club playing in division 5 of the grade is going to get less exposure to quality matches. I think Meath need to consolidate their clubs more at underage level. Get county board organised regional teams playing as a level above the club game. Gets more good games for those missing out through their club. Development squads are fine but again they don't cater for enough players. If you get more of a pool of players playing quality games you've more chance of producing top players. The development squads are a little flawed also. The best players at under 14 don't necessarily have the most potential to be quality adult players. Talent spotting at that age is difficult as 2 kids can be developmentally at completely different stages, despite being the same age.
Whammo86 (Antrim) - 27/11/2017 19:31:03
I dont think too many clubs is the issue.
If there is 40 teams at each age group/40 clubs thats great but how many divisions is there for teams/clubs to compete at?
A player in a club at a lower level at an age group should be able to play in a higher level in a divisional team or joining with another club
I wouldnt have regional teams playing above club game but as part of club game
That allows smaller clubs keep their own teams while also providing games at higher levels for those who need it"
Yeah, what I'd mainly be talking about is not having so many divisions.

You're talking 7 or 8 divisions in Meath underage football.

The county board is very good at providing games at underage level. They have competitions for every year. For key years they'll have a league and championship. Every team will be hitting somewhere around 8-12 games. A kid playing in just around his own age (his year and the one above) will play about 20 matches.

I agree that club shouldn't be gotten rid of. What I'd be talking is about keeping 6-10 of the largest club run on their own with then county board organised amalgamations also playing against them.

There are amalgamations at underage but you're talking 1 or 2 small clubs who are still fielding teams at the lower levels. I think the system just needs more formalised and the goal isn't just to field. The goal is to get more teams capable to compete with the large east Meath clubs.

They can also play for their clubs too."
I'd imagine small clubs would kick up a fuss with this. There would be a lot of clubs arguing that their club is a big/good enough club to not have to amalgamate.

gotmilk (Fermanagh) - 28/11/2017 12:36:38    2063885

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with all the money that's available to counties now i don't see why every single child both boys and girls from u10-u14 can't be given the opportunity to train in the top class facilities with top class coaches. It should be simple, set up a rota for the year where your club is pencilled in for certain dates in the year. So lets say 8 sessions a year. for example In our case, underage players will go to breffni park for a 2 hour session on a saturday morning (other clubs will also be there) they'll get to get coaching from well educated coaches and county stars that the kids look up to on skills, preparation, nutrition etc etc. it'll be fun and a novelty. they'll naturally learn more from their idols too. maybe bring them for a run on the pitch and teach them the honour of representing the county (which is beginning to get lost) Most important of all, its all inclusive from the average, poor to very good underage talent. Every child's personality and development is different, so i really do think a system like this could seriously benefit the less confident and the slower developers, who by in large are lost to the game in their late teens

theweanling (Cavan) - 29/11/2017 12:04:23    2063983

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Replying To theweanling:  "with all the money that's available to counties now i don't see why every single child both boys and girls from u10-u14 can't be given the opportunity to train in the top class facilities with top class coaches. It should be simple, set up a rota for the year where your club is pencilled in for certain dates in the year. So lets say 8 sessions a year. for example In our case, underage players will go to breffni park for a 2 hour session on a saturday morning (other clubs will also be there) they'll get to get coaching from well educated coaches and county stars that the kids look up to on skills, preparation, nutrition etc etc. it'll be fun and a novelty. they'll naturally learn more from their idols too. maybe bring them for a run on the pitch and teach them the honour of representing the county (which is beginning to get lost) Most important of all, its all inclusive from the average, poor to very good underage talent. Every child's personality and development is different, so i really do think a system like this could seriously benefit the less confident and the slower developers, who by in large are lost to the game in their late teens"
That's a great idea Weanling. Kids would be delighted to meet their county stars and learn from them. Getting them involved in the GAA from an early age and meet county players might mean they'd be more encouraged to get involved in the GAA rather than other sports they'd see on TV.

GreenandRed (Mayo) - 29/11/2017 16:54:25    2064044

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These academies were probably started as a reaction to other sports doing the same, I think its great to give children something to aim for especially those who are maybe a little more advanced than others, they have to be run correctly though, it is not unknown for these squads to be run by people who are prepared to put their own money into them which is a saving for the county board but no ensuring players have the best possible coaching

Barrowsider (Carlow) - 03/12/2017 08:27:55    2064296

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