CAVAN u-20 manager Damian Donohoe has called on the GAA to give young players something to work towards as their mental health is suffering as a result of the ongoing uncertainty.
The Ulster U-20 Championship was initially scheduled to start in the last weekend of March, but that’s been put on the back-burner and nobody, at this present time, has a clear idea of when it will actually begin.
Donohoe says that youngsters are suffering as they’re not only missing out on sport, but on normal coming-of-age events like moving away from home to go to university, and that the GAA has its part to play..
“It’s the same for every u-20 manager around the country – you’re dealing with lads who are in their final year at secondary school or their first or second year at college. Usually they’re leaving home for the first time, experiencing a bit of independence, but that’s been taken away from them, and so has sport. It’s having a hugely negative impact on their mental health.
“In the last year in Cavan, a number of younger men have committed suicide, and I know from talking to a lot of younger lads that their mental health is suffering has they don’t have a target or aim. I’d have to appeal to the GAA to give them something to aim towards, ideally to keep the competition in the earlier part of the year and give them a date to work towards because that’s what they really need.
“We’re also seeing anti-social behaviour in Whatsapp videos that have gone around, and it’s because of a lack of anything to do and because they’re bored. The u-20 championship would be an outlet, it’d be something to focus on, and it would keep them both mentally and physically healthy.”