"We are going to lose a lot of these guys from all over the country"

May 02, 2021

Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland.

Six-time Dublin All-Ireland winner Diarmuid Connolly has hit out at the GAA for leaving U20 players around the country in “limbo”.

A revised master fixtures plan announced last month gave inter-county senior teams the green light to resume collective training on April 19, with the Allianz Leagues to throw in over the next two weekends.

While inter-county minors can also train collectively in pods of 15, a decision has yet to be made over what will happen in the U20 grade in which the 2020 All-Ireland hurling championship is still outstanding.

Speaking to Leon Blanche as an ambassador for BoyleSports, Connolly stressed that the GAA is running the risk of losing U20 players, who he describes as the “lifeblood of senior elite panels”.

“It has been well documented in the media that the GAA have a roadmap for the under 18s and for the seniors onwards but the under 20s have been left in limbo,” Connolly said.

“It’s not fair because there is an outstanding hurling competition from 2020 still to be played and they still haven’t given a roadmap for when that might come back.”

“These men are the lifeblood of these senior elite panels now and we need to keep developing these young lads and bringing them through.”

He continued: “I was lucky enough when I came out of minor that I went into the senior panel but some of these guys don’t do that. 

“The likes of Brian Fenton, who is probably the best footballer in the country at the moment, he didn’t play senior for a couple years after minor and without that Under 20s, would he have developed into the player he has. I don’t think he would.”


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