Sligo Forum

Playing Numbers

(Oldest Posts First)

Its great to have some football coming back this week and while looking at fixtures on county website I can't get over the amount of amalgamations at underage. Maybe I've been living under a rock but are there more in the last year or two than before?

From my looking you have 6 this year.
Ballymote/Bunninadden
Geevagh/St Michaels
Enniscrone/St Pats
Easkey/St Farnans
Calry/St Johns
Coolaney/Mullinabreena/Tubbercurry/Cloonacool

What has happened that the numbers have drifted away so much? I can understand rural parishes like Pats, Bunninadden, Geevagh etc would struggle with lower populations but seeing Johns, Calry, Tubber and Mullinabreena in it is a bit of a surprise? They nearly all can field at u12 level on their own so there must be serious drop off happening.

Sligoman1234 (Sligo) - Posts: 49 - 11/07/2020 14:49:52    2283768

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Sadly not a surprise as we are looking at the beginning of the end of Gaelic football as we know it in Sligo. If you look at majority of the clubs they invariably have a population base superior to the likes of Curry or indeed Tourlestrane (who continue to field albeit it maybe in B championships).
These amalgamations are a result of the respective parishes poor underage structures,, leading to apathy as the kids get older, ultimately walking away, as there are host of other activities both on and off field for teenagers to indulge in.
It is only a matter of time before these Amalgamations become the norm at senior levels as the attractiveness and commitment of Gaelic football at senior club level is far too much in the 2020s in a gaa backwater like Sligo

leyny (Sligo) - Posts: 36 - 11/07/2020 23:36:03    2283820

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Replying To leyny:  "Sadly not a surprise as we are looking at the beginning of the end of Gaelic football as we know it in Sligo. If you look at majority of the clubs they invariably have a population base superior to the likes of Curry or indeed Tourlestrane (who continue to field albeit it maybe in B championships).
These amalgamations are a result of the respective parishes poor underage structures,, leading to apathy as the kids get older, ultimately walking away, as there are host of other activities both on and off field for teenagers to indulge in.
It is only a matter of time before these Amalgamations become the norm at senior levels as the attractiveness and commitment of Gaelic football at senior club level is far too much in the 2020s in a gaa backwater like Sligo"
You'd imagine with Cul Camps which are usually bursting with numbers bar this year, development squads and coaches that they'd at least be holding the ground in most places?

If it's as bad as you say you're looking at losing 3/4 clubs at adult level within the next 20 years or so. Would be understandable at a time of population decline but that's not really at play in Calry or St Johns I'd imagine. Even Coolaney/Mullinabreena probably has twice as many young lads in it now than 20 years ago.

Sligoman1234 (Sligo) - Posts: 49 - 12/07/2020 10:31:34    2283833

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Replying To Sligoman1234:  "You'd imagine with Cul Camps which are usually bursting with numbers bar this year, development squads and coaches that they'd at least be holding the ground in most places?

If it's as bad as you say you're looking at losing 3/4 clubs at adult level within the next 20 years or so. Would be understandable at a time of population decline but that's not really at play in Calry or St Johns I'd imagine. Even Coolaney/Mullinabreena probably has twice as many young lads in it now than 20 years ago."
County board have been much too soft on this. It was allowed in clubs as a 'once off' and is now part of those same clubs' norm. That then puts pressure on clubs competing on their own to compete with these other clubs using some younger lads.
Tubbercurry & Cloonacool, Buninadden & Ballymote, St. Johns & Owenmore Gaels, Easkey & St. Farnans/Enniscrone, Geevagh & St. Michaels. I'm sure that I'm forgetting some. Domino effect rolling down.

There is no rivalry for young players now and the so called 'average' players can't be bothered to be a very tiny part of an amalgamation. My own club, last year played against a team at minor that was an amalgamation with 22 players minor and an additional 4 u-16s as part of their panel. Our team had nine minors and eight under 16s. Was an amalgamation neccessary and if so, HOW were they allowed to compete in 'B' football?
Again this year, two amalgamations are competing at 'B' level in the minor, four at U16 B level (including Enniscrone and St. Pats who are 30km and 3 clubs apart). Granted, it can happen that teams genuinely don't have the numbers, but surely it has to be policed to avoid continuation. You've a handful of rural teams that avoid it now - Tourlestrane, Curry, Eastern Harps (They would want to be avoiding it at this stage), Castleconnor and as for the town teams that do, something is seriously wrong.

Unthinkable 10-15 years ago. A proposal should be made that ALL amalgamations play in 'A' - regardless of ability. Clubs would then think long and hard whether it is worth doing. Clubs amalgamation should be judged on the basis of the number of players they had in their final two years, the grade previous (E.g a team who has 13/14 players in their final two years at u16 level should not be allowed to join a club with similar numbers two years later.)
I get the feeling that it is almost being encouraged at this point.

putyourfootunderit (Sligo) - Posts: 38 - 13/07/2020 11:57:58    2283919

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Replying To putyourfootunderit:  "County board have been much too soft on this. It was allowed in clubs as a 'once off' and is now part of those same clubs' norm. That then puts pressure on clubs competing on their own to compete with these other clubs using some younger lads.
Tubbercurry & Cloonacool, Buninadden & Ballymote, St. Johns & Owenmore Gaels, Easkey & St. Farnans/Enniscrone, Geevagh & St. Michaels. I'm sure that I'm forgetting some. Domino effect rolling down.

There is no rivalry for young players now and the so called 'average' players can't be bothered to be a very tiny part of an amalgamation. My own club, last year played against a team at minor that was an amalgamation with 22 players minor and an additional 4 u-16s as part of their panel. Our team had nine minors and eight under 16s. Was an amalgamation neccessary and if so, HOW were they allowed to compete in 'B' football?
Again this year, two amalgamations are competing at 'B' level in the minor, four at U16 B level (including Enniscrone and St. Pats who are 30km and 3 clubs apart). Granted, it can happen that teams genuinely don't have the numbers, but surely it has to be policed to avoid continuation. You've a handful of rural teams that avoid it now - Tourlestrane, Curry, Eastern Harps (They would want to be avoiding it at this stage), Castleconnor and as for the town teams that do, something is seriously wrong.

Unthinkable 10-15 years ago. A proposal should be made that ALL amalgamations play in 'A' - regardless of ability. Clubs would then think long and hard whether it is worth doing. Clubs amalgamation should be judged on the basis of the number of players they had in their final two years, the grade previous (E.g a team who has 13/14 players in their final two years at u16 level should not be allowed to join a club with similar numbers two years later.)
I get the feeling that it is almost being encouraged at this point."
I've no issue with clubs who for numbers reasons can't field. I'd imagine that's why the likes of Pats and Bunninadden have to go looking as opposed to who theyre paired with as there's no population base in either area. Calry and St Johns however can't use the same excuse with lads in playing ages in the 100s not dozens that some have to pick from.

The likes of Castleconnor, Tourlestrane and Curry have to be admired for holding their own. Harps on the other hand are in effect the outcome of an amalgamation seeing as they were two separate clubs until 70s and Their return in recent years wouldn't suggest that it's a fantastic model for success. Ballisodare is another club gone off the face of the earth and they probably never had as many living in the place

Sligoman1234 (Sligo) - Posts: 49 - 13/07/2020 14:31:41    2283936

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Just wondering is Monasteraden part of Eastern Harps? Also what club do people from Ballysadare play with?

Rossiemad (None) - Posts: 90 - 14/07/2020 15:49:22    2284050

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Replying To Rossiemad:  "Just wondering is Monasteraden part of Eastern Harps? Also what club do people from Ballysadare play with?"
Monasteraden is part of Eastern Harps. Most in Ballisodare play with Owenmore Gaels now I think although there might be an odd fella playing with Coolera/St Johns/St Pats depending on what side of village they are but I wouldn't be 100pc sure on it. I don't think they were ever fully taken over by anyone so its probably a case of grab who ya can get by the neighbouring clubs.

Sligoman1234 (Sligo) - Posts: 49 - 14/07/2020 16:25:25    2284053

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Replying To Sligoman1234:  "Monasteraden is part of Eastern Harps. Most in Ballisodare play with Owenmore Gaels now I think although there might be an odd fella playing with Coolera/St Johns/St Pats depending on what side of village they are but I wouldn't be 100pc sure on it. I don't think they were ever fully taken over by anyone so its probably a case of grab who ya can get by the neighbouring clubs."
Monasteraden is peculiar in that it is located in Sligo but most of the kids that go to school there are from Ballagh which is in Mayo. An example would be that when the school won the Amigo competition as part of cumann na nbunscoil all 3 players were from Ballagh. Monasteraden is the half parish of Ballaghadeereen.

eoinog (Sligo) - Posts: 723 - 14/07/2020 18:43:27    2284073

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Thanks for that. I drove through Monasteraden a few months back and was wondering that. Was Eastern Harps an amalgamation of 2 teams years ago?

Rossiemad (None) - Posts: 90 - 14/07/2020 18:49:08    2284074

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Replying To Rossiemad:  "Thanks for that. I drove through Monasteraden a few months back and was wondering that. Was Eastern Harps an amalgamation of 2 teams years ago?"
Was the joining of Keash and Gurteen clubs. How Ballinafad got roped in I'm not sure but they're in with them too.

Sligoman1234 (Sligo) - Posts: 49 - 14/07/2020 22:08:32    2284084

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It's a big area they have. The parish that Ballinafad is in has 3 church areas. Corrigeenroe is in Roscommon and is split between Boyle & St Michael's. Ballinafad play with Eastern Harps. Does the Ballyrush area of that parish play with Geevagh or Shamrock Gaels?

Rossiemad (None) - Posts: 90 - 15/07/2020 00:04:19    2284090

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Replying To Sligoman1234:  "Was the joining of Keash and Gurteen clubs. How Ballinafad got roped in I'm not sure but they're in with them too."
If Monasteraden is odd it's nothing compared to the Ballinafad situation. Ballinafad, Corrigeenroe and Ballyrush form the parish of Aughanagh. Players from Ballinafad play for Eastern Harps, Players from Ballyrush play for Shamrock Gaels and Players from Corrigeenroe play with St.Michaels in Co Roscommon. I doubt if any other parish in Ireland is divided between 3 clubs and 2 counties.

eoinog (Sligo) - Posts: 723 - 15/07/2020 00:17:22    2284091

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Harps certainly have a huge area and they are a result of an amalgamation long before they were a common thing, ahead of their time! Not being mentioned are Shamrock Gaels who are also an historic amalgamation to my knowledge.

Possibly a fair way of looking at should a club be needing an amalgamation is a count of how many children they have available in their national schools? If your club has 3/4 national schools with say 100 boys at under 12, there is something badly wrong if 3 years later you need to amalgamate at under 16. Something is wrong in the club structures, coaching or whatever. Owenmore Gaels, Calry, Johns etc, no much excuse here for needing amalgamations. Where are the players?

On the other hand a small parish with one or two small national schools (looking at the list of amalgamations Cloonacool/Bunninadden/Geevagh/Pats) in reality might only have a fraction of school numbers some clubs have at under 12. They have no choice with the way rural depopulation has gone but to seek to amalgamate and provide football for the small numbers of boys playing in their area.

A kind of census of your school numbers could be used as a rough guide from say 6th class. If you're losing lots of players serious work needs to be done to try and address it.

I don't agree with the thesis that all amalgamations should be in A. That has been tried and some of the weak teams took bad beatings which really doesn't encourage players to keep playing, nothing worse than togging out knowing you are out of your depth, lads will drop off. I think in fairness to the current powers that be they have looked at that and graded teams on what they see is their fair level.

maximus_1 (Sligo) - Posts: 11 - 17/07/2020 09:47:20    2284288

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Replying To maximus_1:  "Harps certainly have a huge area and they are a result of an amalgamation long before they were a common thing, ahead of their time! Not being mentioned are Shamrock Gaels who are also an historic amalgamation to my knowledge.

Possibly a fair way of looking at should a club be needing an amalgamation is a count of how many children they have available in their national schools? If your club has 3/4 national schools with say 100 boys at under 12, there is something badly wrong if 3 years later you need to amalgamate at under 16. Something is wrong in the club structures, coaching or whatever. Owenmore Gaels, Calry, Johns etc, no much excuse here for needing amalgamations. Where are the players?

On the other hand a small parish with one or two small national schools (looking at the list of amalgamations Cloonacool/Bunninadden/Geevagh/Pats) in reality might only have a fraction of school numbers some clubs have at under 12. They have no choice with the way rural depopulation has gone but to seek to amalgamate and provide football for the small numbers of boys playing in their area.

A kind of census of your school numbers could be used as a rough guide from say 6th class. If you're losing lots of players serious work needs to be done to try and address it.

I don't agree with the thesis that all amalgamations should be in A. That has been tried and some of the weak teams took bad beatings which really doesn't encourage players to keep playing, nothing worse than togging out knowing you are out of your depth, lads will drop off. I think in fairness to the current powers that be they have looked at that and graded teams on what they see is their fair level."
When you see the beating that Tubber/Cloonacool/Coolaney/mullinabreena got yesterday evening at minor it shows how serious the problem of player dropout is. Not only is it a huge area but it is also the heartland of football in the county. Up to cul camps ages it's not difficult to get numbers as the players are still under the mothers/father's thumb and it suits the parents to send them as it's exceptionally good value and in most cases with parents working it's free babysitting. When kids hit secondary school and get independent they are allowed to make a choice. Most prefer to play the x box and manager Real Madrid V Man Utd and take on another like minded player anywhere in the world. If there is strong GAA genes in the family it's usually enough to keep them interested for another few years, by that I mean if they are used to following their own club team, county team and take the odd spin to Croke Park. If they are left to their own devices due to no parental interest they invariably drop off. The Co Board do not help things by neglecting the players, by this I mean only putting on a handful of games each year. They start at the end of March, take a break from the end of May until July and have finished up in September. Meanwhile soccer commences in August and runs right through to April. From September right through until the following March there is no club football. If the player happens to be going to a school where Gaelic is taken seriously then they get a bit of school football. Very few schools are in that bracket. Development squads are for the better players and the politically correct ones also. There's a huge need for a serious debate about underage football in this county but I can't see that happening.

eoinog (Sligo) - Posts: 723 - 18/07/2020 14:06:44    2284419

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Replying To eoinog:  "When you see the beating that Tubber/Cloonacool/Coolaney/mullinabreena got yesterday evening at minor it shows how serious the problem of player dropout is. Not only is it a huge area but it is also the heartland of football in the county. Up to cul camps ages it's not difficult to get numbers as the players are still under the mothers/father's thumb and it suits the parents to send them as it's exceptionally good value and in most cases with parents working it's free babysitting. When kids hit secondary school and get independent they are allowed to make a choice. Most prefer to play the x box and manager Real Madrid V Man Utd and take on another like minded player anywhere in the world. If there is strong GAA genes in the family it's usually enough to keep them interested for another few years, by that I mean if they are used to following their own club team, county team and take the odd spin to Croke Park. If they are left to their own devices due to no parental interest they invariably drop off. The Co Board do not help things by neglecting the players, by this I mean only putting on a handful of games each year. They start at the end of March, take a break from the end of May until July and have finished up in September. Meanwhile soccer commences in August and runs right through to April. From September right through until the following March there is no club football. If the player happens to be going to a school where Gaelic is taken seriously then they get a bit of school football. Very few schools are in that bracket. Development squads are for the better players and the politically correct ones also. There's a huge need for a serious debate about underage football in this county but I can't see that happening."
Good point on development panels. They bring positives no doubt and a step in the right direction but what about the lads just outside them? Not making them would hurt lads. Need to be able to do something to keep them involved.

putyourfootunderit (Sligo) - Posts: 38 - 22/07/2020 10:20:34    2284832

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