McDermott advises that children’s mental health must be cared for

By John Hughes

THE wipe out of the sporting programme saw one much loved underage tournament fall by the wayside.

Féile 2020, which had been slated to take place in the north-west at the end of June, was an early casualty. Its cancellation sees players from all over the country missing out on what is often described as one of the most treasured experiences in a young Gaels playing career.

Shane McDermott managed Irvinestown to the county Féile title last year and was hopeful of getting another crack at the competition in 2020 with only three or four of last year’s panel over-age.

With all GAA activity now shut down, it’s a particularly difficult time for young adolescent lads says McDermott.

Boys are climbing the walls in the present climate. We’ve toyed with various ways of keeping them occupied, but there’s nothing really you can do at the minute because of the way it is. What can we do without causing risk to others?”

Many clubs are trying to keep players active with training and skills videos. However, the Irvinestown youth mentor points out that, with the social outlet of football gone, a lot of teenage boys will struggle and their mental health could take a knock.

The videos are very helpful and a lot of lads are going and doing those skills and that’s one plus. I just think young lads in particular at u-13 and u-14 don’t lift the phone and chat to each other. It’s only when they go to football that they interact and communicate. Their communication is when they go out and play football, they don’t sit about and chat. Girls may, but fellas don’t and I think that’s been lost a wee bit. We’ve been touching base with the lads all over winter every week and it’s become a tight knit group. That helps lads get through these sorts of things.”

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