National Forum

All Ireland U21 Football Championship

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The championship got underway last night with wins for Wexford over Carlow and Westmeath over Meath. Its a shame more the games aren't televised, the competitions produces so many great games every year. In Leinster I'd imagine either Kildare or Dublin will progress whilst Kerry are searching for their first win since 2008. In Connacht this is probably Roscommon's weakest team in a while and Sligo will fancy their chances of beating them. Galway on paper will likely be favourites but we've been here before and not produced and have to beat Leitrim first before a possible meeting with Mayo. Who's favourites in Ulster?

TheWestIsAwake (UK) - 23/02/2017 11:35:36    1959823

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the best games I have seen for pure football enjoyment have been at under 21 I still cant believe they have scrapped it they haven't dealt with the real issues of burn out and the under 21 grade was the easy target anyways back to this year we have a good group of lads in galway if we can get them to reach their potential at under 21 be great as lot these lads promised so much as minor

rhudson (Galway) - 23/02/2017 12:53:17    1959854

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Winner between Donegal and Tyrone likely to be very warm fav's whoever comes out on top. Personally even though biased I fancy Donegal, do think they have the best squad but Omagh away in the first game is the worst draw possible so tempers my enthusiasm. Added to the fact they have made a horlicks of it at the grade the last 2 years not helped by the sideline. From the other side of the draw imagine Derry might come out on top but I have to admit that I am making my prediction based on the minor teams of 2014 and 2015 so could easily be very wrong. Think people from counties involved be better versed than me. Kerry have to be warm fav's to go all the way especially if they beat Cork away. Connaught seems to be between Galway and Mayo. I favour Galway myself with winners playing Munster champions. Not sure how strong the dubs are but imagine themselves and Kildare will fight it out for Leinster.

panamasam (Australia) - 23/02/2017 13:21:39    1959869

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Replying To rhudson:  "the best games I have seen for pure football enjoyment have been at under 21 I still cant believe they have scrapped it they haven't dealt with the real issues of burn out and the under 21 grade was the easy target anyways back to this year we have a good group of lads in galway if we can get them to reach their potential at under 21 be great as lot these lads promised so much as minor"
I agree rhudson. The U21 football championship was an easy target. It's a great competition, hugely popular with great football played. From Round one to the All-Ireland final takes less than two months to complete. So how the delegates at Congress could have voted to scrap it is beyond me. Getting rid of it was a handy cop out instead of properly addressing the issue of young player burn out.

lilywhite1 (Kildare) - 23/02/2017 14:25:24    1959887

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The reason they got rid of it was to suit one or two counties which I do not need to name as we all know who they are. Similar to the proposed changes to the senior football championship which does nothing to address the provincial disparity which is the real problem. Now with a U-20 grade teams will be denied players if required for the seniors meaning it could deny some counties starved of success a genuine opportunity to achieve some in their careers. The new ruling and grade is blatantly biased to one or two counties...the usual suspects.

panamasam (Australia) - 23/02/2017 15:25:40    1959911

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Replying To lilywhite1:  "I agree rhudson. The U21 football championship was an easy target. It's a great competition, hugely popular with great football played. From Round one to the All-Ireland final takes less than two months to complete. So how the delegates at Congress could have voted to scrap it is beyond me. Getting rid of it was a handy cop out instead of properly addressing the issue of young player burn out."
Excellent post. GAA seem to be afraid tackle third level competitions. Play Sigerson/Fitzgibbon in November or January. GAA enforce stupid rules like banning ordinary club u17 players from play adult football yet some elite young players are expected to play 3 games in a week. I read some where a Monaghan player tore his cruciate playing in a u21 tournament despite playing Sigerson Friday and Saturday for UCD. That is just madness and poor management by Monaghan u21s.

Gael85 (Dublin) - 23/02/2017 15:49:09    1959919

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Can someone please clarify something for me. This year is the last year of the U-21 championship is that correct? So next year it reverts to U-20 for the 2016 minor grade being eligible. What about the minors of 2015 do they just miss out or are they eligible to play in the U-20 Championship of 2018? Next year would be their year to play U-21 football so unless they make this years U-21 panel they miss out or is there something in place for them.

panamasam (Australia) - 26/02/2017 16:17:10    1961010

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really surprised Kildare were beaten with their recent good minor teams you would think they would make a strong under 21 team longford though have been fairly good at underage in recent years

rhudson (Galway) - 02/03/2017 11:58:39    1962755

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Replying To rhudson:  "really surprised Kildare were beaten with their recent good minor teams you would think they would make a strong under 21 team longford though have been fairly good at underage in recent years"
Almost a great Haiku there

Breffni39 (Cavan) - 02/03/2017 12:33:46    1962767

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Very disappointing and thoroughly depressing night for Leinster football. I was in Lakeview Park in Mullingar last night and was witness to the all too familiar Dublin domination of Leinster football. Dublin are going for 4 in a row at the grade which with all due respect to the other counties remaining in the competition is now long odds on. This domination is likely to become even more dominating if that is possible given the switching of U-21 to U-20 with players required by the senior set up not eligible. In my opinion this will further stretch the gap between Dublin and the rest all feeding into the Dublin senior set up meaning a relentless domination in the province. The county who have tried to compete by developing young players in Kildare have been badly found out outside of the province at minor level. I thought that they would give the Dubs something to think about in Leinster U-21 championship this year but they are already out. In fact the 2 counties highlighted here to give Dublin a game of it in Leinster at U-21 in Meath and Kildare are both out when not all the semi finalists yet known. I commend Westmeath at senior level of at least trying to put it up to the Dubs and they have some fantastic players including James Dolan, Paul Sharry and of course John Heslin but they need young players coming through to back up what they have but I don't think there are many players stepping up. I certainly don't think I seen any last night. To the game itself Dublin were impressive in horrendous conditions. In truth the 2-14 Dublin did score was the minimum they should have returned such was their dominance. I think for any side playing a Dublin team having believe is half the battle and it was fairly evident from an early stage that Westmeath did not have it. In the second half with the score at 1-8 to 0-5 points Westmeath had a couple of half chances but what I could not understand was the reluctance to let the ball in especially with players inside making good runs. They played with fear despite being 6 points down. It was men against boys. The problem for Dublin now and with respect to Longford (fantasic win by the way and massive congrats) and the rest is that will they get a stern test before a semi final? There is every chance Dublin could get to the AI semi final in a canter only to get caught cold especially with the winners of Ulster sure to have had a test or 2 before getting to the same stage. Saying that Dublin will be a major challenge for the very best U-21 sides in the country this year with ambitions of going all the way.

panamasam (Australia) - 02/03/2017 14:31:03    1962824

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The betting markets are screaming Kerry into 11/10 and even money in a place.

panamasam (Australia) - 07/03/2017 13:56:22    1965018

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like the look of these Donegal young lads there showing up well at senior level already young Jason mc gee is just one example there up there with some of the Kerry young lads

rhudson (Galway) - 07/03/2017 17:12:59    1965142

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Replying To rhudson:  "like the look of these Donegal young lads there showing up well at senior level already young Jason mc gee is just one example there up there with some of the Kerry young lads"
Decent squad but looks like Jason is going to be out for the first game away to Tyrone which is about the worst draw Donegal could have got. Really surprised how he has developed especially physically and delighted to see him do so well. I don't think you seen anywhere near his best against your boys in the minor semi final in Croker last year but he was not the only one that day. But credit to Galway on the day who got their tactics spot on on the day. There are quite a few players in the U-21 squad who are well capable of possibly of bursting into the senior team. They are 9/4 to win Ulster which will become odds on if beating Tyrone away. I have had some of the 12/1 e/w for the AI along with 10/1 on Galway but I do think Kerry could be exceptional this year but their odds reflect this and offer no value. As everyone is well aware with underage teams temperament on the day counts for alot and is something that is not easy to gauge.

panamasam (Australia) - 07/03/2017 17:34:40    1965155

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fantastic result for limerick last night - scored well into injury time in normal time to level it, were 3 down in extra time as well, even heard chants of limerick limerick from the crowd, still on a high to be honest , 21s have been good the last few years, hopefully now we can go to cork and have a rattle off them

janesboro (Limerick) - 09/03/2017 09:41:58    1965607

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I said it a few months ago....the dark horses to win the U21 is Cork. Don't be surprised if they did beat Kerry. Kerry's training is dijointed at the moment where training is mostly done in separate bunches as lads are all over the country , unlike Cork where most college lads would be in Cork.

woops (Kerry) - 09/03/2017 12:08:54    1965643

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It's likely that Kerry and Dublin will compete the final, thats if they dont meet before this. I think that the dubs will be very hard to beat, I also feel that we have yet to see the best of either dublin or kerry, they will certainly up it from now in. I am interested to see how galway, mayo and cork will fair outside of our own game against tyrone shortly. Its not beyond the realms of possibility that cork will give kerry a hell of a game, but if kerry win this pulling up, it is a signpost that the bookies have got it right about them.

Donegalman (None) - 09/03/2017 13:41:32    1965674

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1) A good few of the 2014 Minors are unavailable for various reasons (Injury, AFL etc etc) 2) We have a dreadful record at U21, winning 2 provincial titles in the 21st century and none since 2008 3) Cork who have dominated are very very strong again this year, I thought they were v.unlucky last year against Mayo and the better team for long stretches and furthermore they had an excellent Minor team in 2015 who lost to Kerry away from home by a point in extra time- they were the best we faced by a huge margin 4) We are due to face Cork at Pairc Ui Rinn which is basically a house of horrors at all levels for Kerry Football 5) )It's very hard us for us to get a team together at this grade as the players are all at college in far flung places which means it's extremely difficult mould a team together. The likes of Cork and Dublin have an enormous advantage in this respect 5) if we happen to break our Munster hoodoo, there a number of very significant barriers in the way. Firstly in Connacht Mayo and Galway are always big threats, Ulster has a number of strong teams headed by Donegal and Tyrone and then of course the Footballing Goliath that is Dublin who have absolutely dominated this grade for the last 6/7 years and should be favourites given the sheer depth ,numbers and pedigree Posted this a while back, indeed Clare were well in the game last night for 50 minutes and caused us serious problems running us through the middle similar to our Seniors. Regarding Point 5 Jack O'Connor referenced it this week in build up to the game as an issue. Whatever you do, don't back Kerry at those ludicrous odds

KYTotalFootball (Kerry) - 09/03/2017 14:58:43    1965700

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Replying To lilywhite1:  "I agree rhudson. The U21 football championship was an easy target. It's a great competition, hugely popular with great football played. From Round one to the All-Ireland final takes less than two months to complete. So how the delegates at Congress could have voted to scrap it is beyond me. Getting rid of it was a handy cop out instead of properly addressing the issue of young player burn out."
Absolutely. The Connacht U21 final 2 yrs ago in Tuam Stadium front of 6,000 people was a joy to watch. Although we lost to the Rossies that evening the football was a throw back to the great and the good of the game. We were the reigning all ireland champions so the knock out 'on the line' football really added to the occasion.

kiloughter (Galway) - 10/03/2017 11:13:05    1965920

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Replying To Gael85:  "Excellent post. GAA seem to be afraid tackle third level competitions. Play Sigerson/Fitzgibbon in November or January. GAA enforce stupid rules like banning ordinary club u17 players from play adult football yet some elite young players are expected to play 3 games in a week. I read some where a Monaghan player tore his cruciate playing in a u21 tournament despite playing Sigerson Friday and Saturday for UCD. That is just madness and poor management by Monaghan u21s."
The player concerned was Barry Mc Ginn, arguably our best player from last years Ulster title winning side. He is a big miss for the 21s and indeed the senior team. Word is he insisted on playing himself, sometimes players need to be protected from themselves if they are involved with numerous teams. The buck does stop with management though. What about the 5 Donegal lads inured for them? you would wonder what the F*** is going on sometimes. Thought Donegal had a great chance this year, until I read that as they have Tyrone in the first round. Kerry must have a great chance to win it out

mhunicean_abu (Monaghan) - 10/03/2017 11:49:03    1965933

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Replying To kiloughter:  "Absolutely. The Connacht U21 final 2 yrs ago in Tuam Stadium front of 6,000 people was a joy to watch. Although we lost to the Rossies that evening the football was a throw back to the great and the good of the game. We were the reigning all ireland champions so the knock out 'on the line' football really added to the occasion."
A game that Galway should have won but for the poor selection of the team, imagine the manager dropped Barry Mc Hugh from the panel even though he had been top scorer in Sigerson football that year, selected Colin Brady ahead of Martin Farragher from Corofin even though Brady wasn't making the Corofin senior panel and Farragher was starting every game in the All Ireland win, a missed opportunity for sure to go back to back.

EDH (Galway) - 10/03/2017 11:54:56    1965935

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