A bit of a rambling post here - but borne out of a serious concern for the state of Gaelic football …
Congrats to Clare and Tipperary - All Ireland quarter finalists for the first time ever. And we could very possibly have half our quarter finalists from Munster now too!
While it’s always good to see new teams dine at the ‘top table’ should we genuinely worry about the state of Gaelic football?
A good friend - Cavan man with early 70s intercounty experience and Sigerson too - regularly points out to anyone who would listen that despite the time, money, training, resources that are now going into the game - the quality of the ‘product’ is diminishing - and has rarely been worse. He’s not wrong IMO.
I was at an u12 league game in Meath earlier today with a traditionally strong club playing a ‘satellite’ club’s u11 team. The football was simply wonderful - especially from the younger lads. Heart warming. But I have also been at blitzes at this level where coaches have been using clipboards?!?!
I also think that Dublin club football has never been of a higher standard especially at senior level and in the main is played ‘the Dublin way’. Some teams have persisted with negativity - with very poor returns … Sometimes from a fair ‘investment’. I am glad of this …
Kildare have good things happening at underage - though it is nowhere near
impacting at senior level - yet anyway. Meath is very poor - despite hammering us at minor this year.
It just strikes me that although you have the media BS Dublin juggernaut term, we really do have unbelievably solid structures in place now and they aren’t going away. And the more successful we are - at all levels and codes - the more it will (rightfully) feed this ‘beast’.
And while lauding Tipp and Clare’s breakthrough I can’t help feeling that it is as much down to hugely declining standards than any huge quality improvement in the winning counties.
I think we are seeing an unprecedented decline in Gaelic football in most counties (incl what are traditionally very strong counties) - in terms of playing numbers, standards, quality, coaching and even spectator interest.
Dublin got millions of euros to invest from the GAA. Other counties didn’t get it. Now Dublin needed it in the late 90’s as the GAA was declining in the Capital but they gave other counties nothing and just assumed they’d stay strong. Like they did with Dublin in the late 80’s
The GAA has failed the smaller counties in my view. They are owners of the game and have a responsibility to promote the game Nationwide and they have utterly failed in their task.
They own all the franchises and if you have an under-performing one- you either sell it or go in and get it working. You don’t sit on your hands and let some of them rot.
Amalgamations to some degree also need to be looked as some counties just don’t have the numbers of population size to compete with the likes of Dublin
Cork have to be the poster boy of how not to run a GAA county board , the chairman frank Murphy appears to be bullet proof and now they are building a white elephant costing 78 million euro that will hardly be used , you couldn’t make it up .
The level of commitment expected from IC players has reached such a tipping point, that it’s probably more detrimental to the quality of the game than anything else.
When Damian Barton took over the Derry job, he complained U21 players weren’t interested in joining the seniors, and some of the senior side signed up to play in the states.
If my son was 20-21 and good enough to be on a County side with virtually no chance of winning anything, I’d be advising him to stick with club football and his work/studies. Especially as even Club football is so demanding.
As Jamie Clarke said…there’s more to life than knocking a ball over a bar.
I’m not sure what the answer is. But IMO, unless the GAA address the near-professional commitment expected from players…then changing the format is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic,
It’s exactly why it’s absurd not to have the top tier of Gaelic Football graded.
More players would play if they had a chance of winning something. They also wouldn’t have to waste their time following stupid S&C programmes that no matter how well they follow them will never get them to Dublin’s level for example.
What is the point in a Carlow footballer training 6 nights a week under the current structure?
You could say what is the point in 95% of sports people taking part in any sport if they are only doing it to win, be it amatuer or pro only a handful ever win.
In saying that I do agree that the training regimes are bordering on stupid, the amount of games taken seriously is also bordering on stupid, but IMO that is the fault of the players and management, I mean the GAA never gave a directive to teams not to take the league seriously, IMO it should be the main competition for the weaker counties as it is the only place they can compete against teams of their level and have a chance to gradually progress…
The biggest issue, by a moonlight mile, is the training.
As an example Clare hurlers trained for 17 days in a row from New Year’s Day, often beginning at 5.45 a.m. How did that work out for them?
I don’t know how you get to grips with it when people simply refuse to listen to reason.
And instead of trying to fix that they make minor U/17 and expose 15 year olds to minor managers whose mindset is often the same, or even worse, than their senior counterparts. Not just stupid but dangerous.
There has been a shocking lack of leadership ion the last twenty years on the issues of club fixtures and county training.
That’s true enough…although I imagine football is mode demanding with it being an impact sport.
But in context of this thread ‘the state of football’…I just think that to play football now, you need to be either a student, teacher or have a cushy bank job that likes PR. The days of tradesmen playing for their county is probably over.
And I think we saw that in ulster this year with the Derry U21s not wanting to join the seniors, and I imagine some Monaghan lads were just glad to get the break after the hard work this past few years…