Westmeath Forum

Westmeath Underage Development Squads

(Oldest Posts First)

What direction are we going here. Every development squad from 13,14,15 beaten out the gate at most blitz's they played this year,didn't score in some games. Now unable to beat teams at 16/17 that we could beat at 13/14.
Parents of members of these squads will tell you that training happens every now and then ,usually in the couple of weeks before a blitz.
Whats the plan?

Thechick (Westmeath) - Posts: 29 - 13/09/2018 12:21:38    2141388

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Replying To Thechick:  "What direction are we going here. Every development squad from 13,14,15 beaten out the gate at most blitz's they played this year,didn't score in some games. Now unable to beat teams at 16/17 that we could beat at 13/14.
Parents of members of these squads will tell you that training happens every now and then ,usually in the couple of weeks before a blitz.
Whats the plan?"
Let me know if you can find a plan

valley84 (Westmeath) - Posts: 1530 - 13/09/2018 14:31:06    2141448

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Well if there is a plan, it certainly is not published.
My own 2 lads were involved at younger ages.
All age groups seem to operate totally individually - no obvious player pathway or joint up thinking.
Initially at U13 level there was a panel of up to 60 players - playing 3 teams or so at blitzes.
This number got culled over the winter without any notification - just stopped getting the texts.
Another problem is getting mentors - seems to be just parents involved, certainly with the younger teams.
Surely we could get some ex players involved even just as the lead coach and allow them to cut their teeth too.
You need someone for the lads to look up to aspire to be and indeed attract the lads to play with all the competition out there.

BigSur (Westmeath) - Posts: 580 - 14/09/2018 14:22:57    2141720

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Replying To BigSur:  "Well if there is a plan, it certainly is not published.
My own 2 lads were involved at younger ages.
All age groups seem to operate totally individually - no obvious player pathway or joint up thinking.
Initially at U13 level there was a panel of up to 60 players - playing 3 teams or so at blitzes.
This number got culled over the winter without any notification - just stopped getting the texts.
Another problem is getting mentors - seems to be just parents involved, certainly with the younger teams.
Surely we could get some ex players involved even just as the lead coach and allow them to cut their teeth too.
You need someone for the lads to look up to aspire to be and indeed attract the lads to play with all the competition out there."
A lot of mentors for these younger squads do tend to be parents but its likely they are involved with their own clubs and have agreed to help out with the development squad due to a lack of an alternative. I'm sure they would also like to see former county players coaching their sons to the next level.
We continue to do the same thing every year and continue to expect different results

Thechick (Westmeath) - Posts: 29 - 14/09/2018 15:28:51    2141742

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Their was no trials for some of the development squads earlier in the year therefore no healthy competition for places!! they only went looking for new players when it was to late in August after a run of bad results, look around the clubs still in knockout football and see how many excellent players that are not with county development squads !!!

Westmeathgeal (Westmeath) - Posts: 27 - 15/09/2018 16:45:19    2141882

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Replying To Westmeathgeal:  "Their was no trials for some of the development squads earlier in the year therefore no healthy competition for places!! they only went looking for new players when it was to late in August after a run of bad results, look around the clubs still in knockout football and see how many excellent players that are not with county development squads !!!"
Look around the many clubs not in knockout football and see the many excellent footballers who's year ended in August and now looking at soccer and rugby for the winter months.....
The whole county should still be engaged with matches, following elimintion from Championship proper, there needs to be plate and shield competitions to keep the games going for these young lads.
Trials will showcase some players but there needs to be a system set up where lads can be assessed playing for their clubs in matches and then a better reflection would be gotten of a player for inclusion in development squads.

tazz (Westmeath) - Posts: 44 - 17/09/2018 10:13:51    2142139

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Good to finally see a full time S&C coach appointed to work with all the teams. I assume he will be going around to clubs/schools as well?

martyW (Westmeath) - Posts: 219 - 19/09/2018 12:10:17    2142660

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"New" s and c coach ? He has been in place since last October and worked exclusively with the senior hurlers as physio and took warm ups and warm downs and some drills all this with Tom Carr on board too. Do we think the schools and clubs will see him ? Development squads ? Foley said he will have a team working under him of physios and s and c , if the term team actually means " intern's " working for nothing out from college and if it's the same as last year they won't show up half of the time , do supporters actually beleive that this is going to change our squads much , the simple fact is no work has been done with underage development in Westmeath in years to match other counties that have , Greville is u 20 manager but there is no u20 squad where is the work up along to have a proper u20 setup our minors u16s have been non existent, Cooney won't work any miracles either we all know that but at least his heart will be in it but for how long setbacks will happen and players are usually the main cause not management. Quaid has a backroom team that will cost big money and for what unless we actually win the league and win the qualification cup it will be the same old tune that we have heard from Ryan before him , Offaly and Laois will push for honours in that competition. The plan around the development squads and u20 squads need to be in place now along with s and c coach and sent out to each club so we at least know our player's going into these squads are getting benefit from it all and not wasting time making up numbers to keep management teams in jobs , there are plenty of footballers and hurlers that could have made our county squads stronger but they wouldn't go into the setups under Kelly or Ryan we see them every week in our club championships and supporters saying why isn't he in with the county, we live in hope but when we have a county board that are inept it's a no win situation

rogerdodger (Westmeath) - Posts: 219 - 19/09/2018 15:48:27    2142739

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There isn't a single age group at 13,14,15,16,17,18 in Westmeath with more than 100 registered players actually playing hurling. We have 3 clubs who can field at premier level on their own and all other underage units are amalgamations or clubs playing 13 aside in B competitions (Delvin being the exception, playing 13 aside at U16 only). St Brigids will cease to exist at adult level within 10 years as they have no teams at U16/18, and can barely field at U14. Big challenges lie ahead for Southern Gaels and Oliver Plunkets too. The problem isn't the management of development squads. The problem is that there are not enough players playing in our clubs to feed quality players to the development squads. There is great work being done at underage level in our clubs and the quality coaches are there but there aren't enough players actually playing. Our hurling clubs are located on top of each other with no room for expansion or recruitment and generally only recruit at each others' expense. Growth in the numbers playing can only come in the 2 large towns and in persuading football clubs to start affiliating underage hurling teams as not every Gaa player in Westmeath is given the chance to play hurling whereas the vast majority of underage hurlers are dual players.

midfield9 (Westmeath) - Posts: 3 - 19/09/2018 17:53:53    2142771

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Replying To midfield9:  "There isn't a single age group at 13,14,15,16,17,18 in Westmeath with more than 100 registered players actually playing hurling. We have 3 clubs who can field at premier level on their own and all other underage units are amalgamations or clubs playing 13 aside in B competitions (Delvin being the exception, playing 13 aside at U16 only). St Brigids will cease to exist at adult level within 10 years as they have no teams at U16/18, and can barely field at U14. Big challenges lie ahead for Southern Gaels and Oliver Plunkets too. The problem isn't the management of development squads. The problem is that there are not enough players playing in our clubs to feed quality players to the development squads. There is great work being done at underage level in our clubs and the quality coaches are there but there aren't enough players actually playing. Our hurling clubs are located on top of each other with no room for expansion or recruitment and generally only recruit at each others' expense. Growth in the numbers playing can only come in the 2 large towns and in persuading football clubs to start affiliating underage hurling teams as not every Gaa player in Westmeath is given the chance to play hurling whereas the vast majority of underage hurlers are dual players."
There are plenty of children who only play hurling

The problem is that the few larger clubs just go and recruit players from neighbouring football clubs so the 3 clubs fielding on their 'own' are actually doing so with players not in their area. St Brigids don't even have their own club ground which makes it hard to exist as a club.

All those amalgamated clubs have done so for a reason - to play premier hurling.

If the CB actually spent the hurling development money they get every year on developing a few new clubs and supporting those in more football areas the number of kids playing would increase. We need to maximise the number of kids in every hurling area playing with clubs.
Instead they just spend the money on backroom staff for the adult county teams!

valley84 (Westmeath) - Posts: 1530 - 19/09/2018 23:23:47    2142818

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Replying To valley84:  "There are plenty of children who only play hurling

The problem is that the few larger clubs just go and recruit players from neighbouring football clubs so the 3 clubs fielding on their 'own' are actually doing so with players not in their area. St Brigids don't even have their own club ground which makes it hard to exist as a club.

All those amalgamated clubs have done so for a reason - to play premier hurling.

If the CB actually spent the hurling development money they get every year on developing a few new clubs and supporting those in more football areas the number of kids playing would increase. We need to maximise the number of kids in every hurling area playing with clubs.
Instead they just spend the money on backroom staff for the adult county teams!"
Like i said in my initial post, football development squads at 15/16 cant beat counties now they could beat at 13/14 due to a lack of progression,not the fault of the volunteer mentors but the structure from the top . Counties like Offaly and Longford have progressed these young fellas over the last three years while we have sent them to blitz's unprepared and threw them a half zip. There is no point in mentioning Meath ,Dublin or Kildare because we are years behind them at all ages.
Go back a few years and one of the biggest hurling clubs had delegates at minor board meetings complaining that it was usually them winning in all the underage finals and playing "meaningless games" and they weren't being "challenged" enough. Initially they didn't mind the first amalgamation the County Board put in place because they could still beat them but now that they are regularly been beaten by amalgamations they are complaining about that. "Be careful what you wish for" is the saying and when it doesn't go your way ,well now you have the challenge you wanted so strive to improve rather than go back, that's whats called progressing the game,more clubs playing premier competitions.

Thechick (Westmeath) - Posts: 29 - 20/09/2018 10:51:40    2142845

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Replying To valley84:  "There are plenty of children who only play hurling

The problem is that the few larger clubs just go and recruit players from neighbouring football clubs so the 3 clubs fielding on their 'own' are actually doing so with players not in their area. St Brigids don't even have their own club ground which makes it hard to exist as a club.

All those amalgamated clubs have done so for a reason - to play premier hurling.

If the CB actually spent the hurling development money they get every year on developing a few new clubs and supporting those in more football areas the number of kids playing would increase. We need to maximise the number of kids in every hurling area playing with clubs.
Instead they just spend the money on backroom staff for the adult county teams!"
Most of the Children playing with Clonkill, Raharney and CTG are dual players. The vast majority are from each club's catchment area. Those clubs just happen to have players available from adjoining football areas. There's a huge overlap in players between the Downs and Clonkill now. Killucan and Kinnegad players always play with Raharney. Castletown Geoghegan have players from Ballinagore and Kilbeggan and further afield. Nothing wrong with that.
The other Clubs are by and large on top of each other and have no where to go to get players other than their immediate local area. Gaelic Football is the number one sport in most of Westmeath and that's just a reality. Most rural football clubs are struggling at certain grades and money won't solve that. Asking Football Clubs to promote hurling as well is a big ask. I expect the whole Development squad scene to be overhauled this year but unless more kids start playing hurling don't expect any major change in Westmeath's hurling fortunes.

midfield9 (Westmeath) - Posts: 3 - 20/09/2018 13:14:41    2142888

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Replying To midfield9:  "Most of the Children playing with Clonkill, Raharney and CTG are dual players. The vast majority are from each club's catchment area. Those clubs just happen to have players available from adjoining football areas. There's a huge overlap in players between the Downs and Clonkill now. Killucan and Kinnegad players always play with Raharney. Castletown Geoghegan have players from Ballinagore and Kilbeggan and further afield. Nothing wrong with that.
The other Clubs are by and large on top of each other and have no where to go to get players other than their immediate local area. Gaelic Football is the number one sport in most of Westmeath and that's just a reality. Most rural football clubs are struggling at certain grades and money won't solve that. Asking Football Clubs to promote hurling as well is a big ask. I expect the whole Development squad scene to be overhauled this year but unless more kids start playing hurling don't expect any major change in Westmeath's hurling fortunes."
I don't remember too many Kinnegad lads on Raharney teams, or Milltownpass lads for that matter.
Is Mullingar considered a catchment area for Clonkill? There is a hurling club in the town you know and it'd be better for the county if Plunketts actually had the pick of the kids in the town and were stronger at underage.
Kilbeggan and Moate might not have hurling clubs now but they did in the past. And with the populations there is no reason why they shouldn't with a development plan and work in schools Tec

County Clare is an model for Westmeath to look at. They have basically got more kids in football areas playing hurling and more kids in hurling areas playing football all through development work in schools and clubs. All done to maximise the numbers playing and ensure talented kids aren't missed.

valley84 (Westmeath) - Posts: 1530 - 20/09/2018 17:58:27    2142984

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Replying To valley84:  "I don't remember too many Kinnegad lads on Raharney teams, or Milltownpass lads for that matter.
Is Mullingar considered a catchment area for Clonkill? There is a hurling club in the town you know and it'd be better for the county if Plunketts actually had the pick of the kids in the town and were stronger at underage.
Kilbeggan and Moate might not have hurling clubs now but they did in the past. And with the populations there is no reason why they shouldn't with a development plan and work in schools Tec

County Clare is an model for Westmeath to look at. They have basically got more kids in football areas playing hurling and more kids in hurling areas playing football all through development work in schools and clubs. All done to maximise the numbers playing and ensure talented kids aren't missed."
You are missing the point about the numbers playing. The problem isn't that there's a few kids from mullingar playing in clonkill the problem is that there aren't enough kids playing hurling in the County. Places like kilbeggan and Moate need to get their underage football sorted before you can talk about hurling teams there. The proportion of the population living in mullingar and athlone increases from census to census and it's an issue all across the gaa. How do we increase participation in urban areas?. Answers on a postcard to County Board please.

midfield9 (Westmeath) - Posts: 3 - 20/09/2018 19:43:02    2143007

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Replying To midfield9:  "You are missing the point about the numbers playing. The problem isn't that there's a few kids from mullingar playing in clonkill the problem is that there aren't enough kids playing hurling in the County. Places like kilbeggan and Moate need to get their underage football sorted before you can talk about hurling teams there. The proportion of the population living in mullingar and athlone increases from census to census and it's an issue all across the gaa. How do we increase participation in urban areas?. Answers on a postcard to County Board please."
Look for urban gaa development funding from central council.
Put a proper plan in place like Dublin did 15 years ago and they are reaping the benefits.
Employ two extra coaches dedicated to getting the children in both towns playing Gaelic games in schools and get numbers into the local clubs
It's a priority in the Leinster gaa strategy.

valley84 (Westmeath) - Posts: 1530 - 20/09/2018 23:32:25    2143068

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There are a few issues at play which might explain the dearth of success. Firstly, I can see no improvement unless we extend the Westmeath GAA Underage playing seasons. We finish now and don't regroup till next March. Dublin, Kerry ,Mayo and Tyrone amongst others continue for weeks if not months and train indoors. This rubbish about other sports I don't get. The biggest challenge is getting lads out. IPhones etc have it near ruined. Then again the playing population isn't there unless there is a plan and a strategy. We need proper coaches in place and please don't tell me "Mick and Pat" are grand, they are only there because no one else will do it. We need ex county players involved like in Dublin, Kerry, Meath, Monaghan, Kildare and even Derry. Indeed Derry have the finest collection of coaches I have ever seen at under 12 level, yes folks at under 12. Mickey Moran, Conleth Gilligan, Enda Muldoon, Adrian McGuckian, Brian McIvor amongst others means they will have success soon enough. In fact I think they are well on the road to achieving that goal. Lastly the facilities to progress are not sufficient. For too long there has been too much focus on huge facilities where inevitably there will be no playing population. There is one all weather lit pitch in the County which is not enough. I would suggest the County board should look at developing 4 pitches at strategic locations within the county making them all weather and fully floodlit. Then we could look at winter leagues from under 8 up to adult level. We are giving other sports a free run at it. Where could these pitches be developed? Partner with the Clubs to upgrade Kinnegad, upgrade Ringtown maybe for the northern end of the county, upgrade facility in Castletown-Geoghegan or maybe Rochfortbridge and upgrade Athlone for the southern end. Ensure partnerships with all clubs, agree programmes of events/training/winter leagues etc. These are just a few thoughts really but we are just limping along and without change nothing will improve.

TToatler (Dublin) - Posts: 4 - 23/09/2018 18:09:54    2143378

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