Results of Gaelic Life readers’ survey on underage grading motions for Congress

WITH the GAA Congress taking place this weekend, Gaelic Life conducted its own online survey of how our readers felt of the various  motions related to the underage grades.

With input from 29 different counties, including readers outside of Ireland, we have published our findings.

We surveyed players and coaches (club and inter-county) at all levels.

Are you in favour of Motion 2 that will merge the current inter-county minor (u-17) and u-20 into u-19 for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 seasons?
Yes: 80%
No: 20%

Are you in favour of Motion 39 that will allow county board to have whatever underage structures they choose?
Yes: 72%
No: 28%

Are you in favour of inter-county minor returning to u-18?
Yes: 91%
No: 9%

If inter-county returns to u-18, should players in the u-16 grade be allowed to play?
Yes: 42%
No: 58% 

Has your club met or have you been contacted by your club in relation to any of the motions going forward at Congress this weekend?
Yes: 66%
No: 34%

Should a delegate’s vote at Congress be made known?
Yes: 88%
No: 12%

Here are the comments from some of our respondents:

-I answered yes to u-19 and u-18. I think either is preferable to what’s there currently. I think going to u-19 is best to bridge the gap between underage and adult football

-U-16s to play with u-18s after their own championship has finished or if there is less than or 21 players at U18 level

-I feel bringing underage football into line with schools and colleges would help a lot – u-18.5 u-16.5 u14.5 u12.5. Having minors at u-18.5 bridges the gap from youth to adult football.  By incorporating an u-19 competition only adds to a congested timetable of games. I really feel the minor grade changing to u18.5 would be the most practical option. Then decide on u-20.5 or u21.5. It will also help smaller rural clubs to keep fielding at minor level.

-Most sensible thing is to fall back to old structure but tweak it to u-18.5, as this will better suit all involved

-The GAA claims to be a democratic organisation yet why aren’t the motions sent out to all club members to afford them the opportunity to vote on them?

-It’s more important for club to return to u-18, county is such a small per cent of the players

-It’s not sustainable for clubs to try and run u-17, u19 and –21 teams, as well as adult first and second teams. The best young lads will be pulled from pillar to post.

-I’m not sure if my club has met on this or not. With no proper commitment to u-19 at club level, which would take years to establish, going back to u-18 is best

-I think we may need to allow special circumstances to be allowed for rural small clubs to allow u-16s to play etc.

-Change county to u-17 and club to u-18

-Agree to move back to u-18

-If it goes back to u-18, players shouldn’t be eligible to play senior until they are overage for minor grade.

-Bring back u-18 and u-21.

-Allow 18 year olds play adult football.

-Allow u-21s play in both competitions

-Underage age groupings should be by school year and not from start of a certain year. Young players are not always getting the opportunity to be on the same team as their friends and this has an effect on older drop off

-Central Council need to take responsibility for its fake information in 2016 and now again in 2022

-U-18 goes to minor. Then these players can’t be allowed to play adult football until the following year otherwise there will be fixture clashes and some will.

-Have too much training/games

-It needs to go back to u-18 as 17 is too big of a step up for some kids to senior and u-19s is no good to smaller clubs that need there stronger u-19s for senior football and then don’t have enough for a u19 team. Playing u-19 in September with no football all summer will increase drop out.

-GPA motion should carry as well.

-What was the rationale for going to u-17 in the first place? Why are we always trying to fix problems that don’t exist? U-18 and u-21 was ideal and should be brought back in.

-The non-existent communication between county board and club delegates is shocking. Surely this would be the bare minimum given it’s a democratic vote based on the opinions of all members of the GAA. Also a County Board member has said he has been approached by nobody about Congress or motions. Crazy.

-Should never have been changed, get it done delegates.

-My son is playing u-17 this year, but next year he has to move to senior at club level which is a serious jump especially as now in junior. I witnessed two young lads that had just moved up this year and both had to go off injured as they were fast and were targeted in tackles as some lads playing at that level are maybe lads coming near the end of their career and don’t like being shown up by a 17/18 year old. If lads are not cared for at that age they will leave the sport altogether especially small rural clubs like ours.

-U-19 inter county idea is absolutely incomprehensible.

-We received 7 days’ notice of the County Board meeting to discuss and vote on motions. We managed to convene a meeting to mandate our Co Board rep, but would question how many other clubs did. The notice period was too short. U-19 motion was carried by a landslide, which is totally at odds with the views of hurling people on the ground.

-Move it back to u-14, u-16 and u-18

-Minor must be returned to u-18

-If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Go back to what was please

-Should club competitions revert back to u-18, in order to protect players any player eligible to play u-18 should not be allowed play senior club football. This would allow minor and senior competitions run side by side and help fixture committees as there would be no crossover of players.

-Don’t change it to u-18.

-It would make more sense to follow school age groups. U-12.5, u-14.5 etc. It makes no sense that some children from the one year group play different grades

-The u-19 grade at club level does not work. It doesn’t fit anywhere in the calendar. However, clubs must take some responsibility for this change happening because many senior games were cancelled by clubs using the excuse that u-18 players were involved in county teams.

MORE…Read what Cavan u-20 manager Damien Donohoe feels about the motions.  Click here…

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