GAA: The Burnout Issue. Part 1 Underage.



Hurling 2020 Website and Survey Launch


Hey everyone!

So today I’m going to be taking something that must be the biggest GAA issue in the modern era. Burnout. Not only does it affect the inter county player but is also causing havoc with organizing the fixture calendar. No grade has been left unaffected by this. However players from the ages 17-21, where the demands of playing for your club, county and school/college are as intense as ever, are the most at risk of picking an injury which could jeopardize their senior careers.

At the recent Games Development conference, a striking report was compiled which contained some thought-provoking points. One of the review groups, which dealt with the Minor grade, found that a quarter players were involved in a sporting activity everyday, some more than that and more than half of those surveyed are active at least six days a week.

More shockingly, 81% of players are now often encouraged by their  managers not to participate in another unit of the association. Even worse 63% played with an injury. Not only are young players under pressure from their mentors, but they are risking their health in the long-term.

Something to consider, schools hurling finishes  around April, not long after the minor championship kicks off, and some players also have to contend with state exams. Now a proposal has been put forward where minor and under 21 championships are not allowed to start until the colleges are finished but I do think the state exams need to be taken into consideration when planning underage team fixtures.

Cathal Cregg, A Roscommon footballer and Connaught GAA strength and conditioning officer, pointed out that muscle injuries are more common in GAA than any other sports, the reasoning being over-training and inadequate rest periods. A possible solution might be to combine minor and under 21 and form an under 20 category, where the age group being 18 to 20. Would it make the fixtures easier to organize?

College is another issue. Another idea put forward would be that college players should not allowed to play National League. This could work because for the the three or four years a person is there, college is their life, particularly if they are lining away from home. A player feels a sense of ownership towards their college club, since they are the ones keeping it going, and at the end of the day, we have to look at what is most important to the player as an individual.

Training methods are another factor contributing to underage burnout. The increasingly popularity of shorter, high intensity sessions are a welcome method as they are seen to produce better performances, rather than longer sessions which are inconvenient to a players hectic schedule.

These issues all feed into the wider problem of burnout among underage players, and the Games Conference highlighted enough points that GAA cannot ignore. Congress 2015 will be an interesting one to say the least. One thing’s for sure it’s a problem that cannot be ignored anymore.


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Checking In!

Hello everyone!

I just thought i’d write this blog as a kind of a catch up. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to post on this site last week because of College work …but fear not I will be back with a bang next week. (I tend to do a lot of research on what posts I want to write and that in itself takes time!) I just want all the people who commented on the site to know I saw them all  so thank you very much for your feedback! …. and keep em coming because I love hearing what your thoughts are on what I am writing. If you want to read more of what I have, I have put a link to my old blog so be sure to check that out.

I also want to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Johnny Ryan, Clara who died in  a farming accident last week. As I understand he was a brilliant hurler in his pomp and was a big figure in Clara and Kilkenny GAA. Also to the family of Derek Tyrell who also passed away in an accident last week. May they rest in peace.

Until next time you guys!


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Hurling 2O/2O proposals….the good and the bad!

Hurling 2020 Website and Survey Launch

If you’re as obsessed with hurling as I am, then the idea of being able to contribute ideas to make the game better is like a dream come true. That’s what happened with the Hurling 20/20 review. Last year, the GAA released a survey to every hurling enthusiast to fill in and submit ideas to improve hurling in someway , it covered just about everything…player welfare, how the competitions were structured, how referees interpreted the rules ( I’m sure every person who has argued about a dodgy decision was happy about that one!). Anyway the review committee, headed by  ex Tipperary boss Liam Sheedy, complied all the suggestions and married it with their own, and the results and proposals were released this week. It was always going to generate lively debate, but a couple of the proposals did raise a few eyebrows.  So without further ado, here they are….

The Good.

Remove all Relegation playoffs involving teams from different divisions

This is a welcome proposal following the complete and utter mess that was Offaly last year.They still retained their division 1b status at the expense of Kerry. A team should be given one chance to retain their division one status, not two, if they don’t take it then tough luck. Good work by the committee to shed light on the matter.

Remove the promotion/relegation playoff involving the bottom team in the Leinster Round-Robin competition and the Christy Ring cup champion, Instead the bottom Leinster round-robin team would be relegated to the Christy Ring Cup championship, while the Christy Ring champion would automatically be promoted as a reward for winning the competition

A boost for the weaker counties. The round robin series is serving the growth of counties like Carlow and Laois well, and a chance to join them will inject life into a Christy Ring competition which previously had no novelty attached to it.

Reset the terms of reference of the Central Fixtures oversight body to ensure the Club Fixtures Schedule, which provides regular games and activity, is adhered to.

Any attempt to improve the quality of club activity is a good thing. The club player often gets overlooked, as the clubs schedule is dictated by the inter county season. This will hopefully end with this proposal.

Allocate squad members to each county in the Liam MacCarthy competition prior to the teams first game.

Raising the profile of county players seems to the priority here. No complaint from me.

The Bad.

The Hurling 20/20 committee proposes that the awarding of a penalty in hurling will result in a penalty taker having to face one defender on the line. The ball can be placed anywhere outside the 20 meter line but must be struck no further the 20 meter line. The Hurling 20/20 committee proposed the existing rule be changed so that just three defenders on the line while enshrining in rule that the ball cannot be struck beyond the 20 meter line.

I’m the fence about this. I do think by placing one defender on the line will still pose a huge safety risk. Sure, the entertainment will be a draw but what’s more important? It’s likely that this rule will be passed at congress, but we’ll have a better understanding of the pros and cons of the one defender rule as the season progresses, would two defenders on the line be worth a try?

To order off a player who commits a second cautionable foul/ infraction by showing him a second yellow card by pointing to the sideline to signal he can no longer be involved in the game. Allow a replacement from within the substitutions permitted in Rule 2.4 Rules of Specification.

The proposal that drew the most debate. Following the dismissals of Henry Shefflin, Ryan O’Dwyer and Patrick Horgan in 2013, it was clear something needed to be done regarding punishing cynical fouls. However it’s doubtful that they’ve achieved it with this proposal. In fact, it’s encourage even more players to live on the edge without any real action being taken. Perhaps, the committee might be better equipped to look at the standard of refereeing in inter county games. That might be where the solution lies.

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3 things I’m looking forward to seeing in 2015!



Hello people!

So as we all get acquainted with 2015 and welcome the start of another inter-county hurling season, it only seems right that I pick the three things that I’m excited for championship 2015!

1. Will the Banner rise again?

Davy Fitzgerald and his young guns will be wanting to put the nightmarish season of 2014, where they failed to win a single championship match. behind them. While I’m sure the 3 in a row under 21 titles  took the sting out of it a bit, Tony Kelly and co. will not be happy with just one senior medal. A natural progression now for Clare would be to replicate their underage dominance at senior level.  It seems Clare are destined to be the ones to inherit Kilkenny’s title as the main hurling powerhouse, but in order to ensure that, they will have to a) make major strides in Munster and b) win the All Ireland very soon.

2. Has the well run dry for the Cats?

Kilkenny have always prided themselves on having one of the best underage structures in the country. A steady stream of talent ready to be used when needs be. However with the recent spate of retirements, it seems that conveyor belt will have to work double time. While Kilkenny will always have good hurlers, it remains to be seen whether the current young lads will be able for the demands of senior inter county hurling.  All that said, the challenge of Cody this year is possibly the greatest he has ever faced. He will have to find a new full back, a new centre back and a couple of exciting forwards to keep Kilkenny dining at the top table.

3. Two referees please!

I think it’s time, don’t you? The last two years, we have seen the decisions of the man in the middle being the deciding factor in big matches. It’s wrong. The teams on the field decide the outcome. The referee needs to be irrelevant. The pressure of a inter county referee these day is huge, not just from the spectators in the stand, but from people assessing his performance. This is where the two referees comes in, Throughout the course of a match, lots of clear fouls go unnoticed by referees because they can’t be everywhere at once. Another referee would be a great aid and would be in a position to make fairer and better choices. Advantage to both teams, not one.

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New Year, new website.

Hey Guys!,

So it’s a brand new year! 2015 is upon us and I for one am so excited for what’s ahead. What better way to start the new year off by a launching my new website, it’s been a long time coming but I’m so happy to finally be able to share it with you all!, there is still a few tweaks to be done here and there but as a whole I am delighted with it! I have to thank my brother Matt for helping with the design and setup of the site, I think we can all agree he did a pretty good job!

I’m going to leave a link to my old blog for all you new visitors to see my previous work, so please feel free to drop a comment or two, as I would love to hear your thoughts!!! My writing schedule will be every Monday and Friday. Monday’s posts will either be topical or a review of the previous weekends action, while Friday will more than likely be a preview post, but I might throw in a surprise once in a while! The subject matter will obviously revolve around the small ball, but if something catches my eye, I will write about it. The purpose of this site is to provide my own perspective on GAA current affairs, as well as providing a platform for debate so that you guys can contribute your own ideas and opinions.

I hope you enjoy my posts and that 2015 brings much joy for you and your respective county.

Talk Soon,


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