Cavan Forum

Is GAA in decline with male youth ?

(Oldest Posts First)

Is GAA in decline with the male youth of our county or is the male birth rate down ?
I pose the question after observing the minor league. I can only speak for Div 2 so maybe you can elighten me on other divisions.
My own club is amalgamated with Redhills and Drumalee giving us a total squad of approx 20 players.
Also in our division are Blackwater Gaels who consist of Munter Connaught, Mountnugent and Maghera again a squad of apprx 20 players
O Raighally Gaels which is Kingscourt and Shercock have a squad of similar numbers
Templeport had to pull out this week as they are relying on a few minors and u16's. The minors are injured and cannot field a team.
Laragh and Knockbride appear to be the only clubs in the division with a healthy number of players
Of the amalgamated squads totalling 8 clubs with a total of approx 60 players means an average of just 7 or 8 players per club.
So is it that young men are not playing the sport or is it that the young men are simply not there ?

StirringIt (Cavan) - Posts: 374 - 30/04/2015 09:54:33    1719124


Stirring It,

Playing numbers are certainly down, that's for sure. I'm not sure if the reason(s) for this are obvious but there are certain factors that could be causing this;

1. Study - almost all teenagers in this country enter third level education, be it university, IT, apprenticeship, etc. Their parents did not (certainly not in the same numbers). While IMO this is definitely a good thing, it does mean that more emphasis is placed on the leaving certificate and you will notice 16 and 17 year olds quitting football to concentrate on after-school study, etc.

2. RTE, TG4, TV3, and Sky Sports are in more homes than ever before, covering more sports than ever before and kids are taking up other sports - rugby, kickboxing, soccer, MMA, golf. .whatever.

3. Graeme Souness once said "it takes dictatorship and poverty to produce good football teams" and you can probably attribute Ireland's economic prosperity of the 00s to some spoilt children who had Nintendo WIIs, iPads, Smartphones, etc. and simply never took up Gaelic Games. (cue people claiming we currently live in poverty and dictatorship!)

there are a whole host of other reasons which I won't go into. the GAA is not the only sporting organisation who are suffering - they have introduced huge initiatives in the UK to get kids into sport. The big worry is that Ireland - and an amateur organisation like the GAA - don't have the financial muscle to do the same. We are left to rely on the parents of these kids and their communities to ensure that the games are kept alive and well.

cavanman47 (Cavan) - Posts: 3951 - 30/04/2015 10:45:32    1719134


Cavanman47.... You make 3 excellent points there and I might add that they way the game is been played and coached at present from school up is driveing more and more young people from the game... The enjoyement is been coached out of the game with win at all costs attitude been addopted from U-14 upwards... An amature game is ment for enjoyement and if ur not enjoying it you are going to stop playing...simple... Paid managers and coaches at clubs and even schools are at the hub of the problem but the GAA have chosen to ignore it and the problems of keeping young lads playing will get only worse...!!!

Sean66 (Cavan) - Posts: 440 - 30/04/2015 16:24:03    1719282


it was all about winning when i was growing up too, that hasn't changed.

wishfulthinkin (Cavan) - Posts: 1474 - 30/04/2015 16:27:14    1719285


Its the methods employed to win that has changed and that is the problem.........!

Sean66 (Cavan) - Posts: 440 - 30/04/2015 21:25:56    1719354


The enjoyment is gone - young footballers are expected to behave like professionals whilst getting nothing in return.

In addition, the GAA are more concerned about the big teams and filling Croke Park, whilst the small Counties and Clubs are being left behind.

deanmartin (Cavan) - Posts: 643 - 01/05/2015 16:27:26    1719545



you may have hit the nail on the head there. I met a number of young lads over the weekend who used to play footbal and should still be playing football.
I asked why they stopped playing and the common answer was " no fun"
They said they played football as a past time, something to do after school/college.
It had become too serious, too demanding. Alright we all want to win but in the process are we missing out on the big picture that it is an amateur organisation making professional demands on young players and the fun / enjoyment has gone out of it

StirringIt (Cavan) - Posts: 374 - 06/05/2015 08:23:46    1720680


what about the player that wants to win or be the best they possibly can be at football? should he or she have to sit in a dressing room and wait on a team mate to show up for a game or training if they feel like or have nothing better to do??
As far as i am aware there is very little payed coaches working with underage club football? so you point is not valid

The lads that give up football often find their feet else where in other sports, often parents push there kids into gaa and the kid never really loves the sport, just plays the gaa because that what is done by others in the school or class or one of this friends.

The sooner gaa look after players who want to play the sport and not just every kid in parish, ie the ugly duckling stopped trying to be as duck and became a swan. If a player is going to gaa for the wrong reasons ie no love for the game. Stop kidding themselves and find something they love and spent time at that. Every one will be happier

iheardthat (Cavan) - Posts: 89 - 06/05/2015 15:25:34    1720908


County: Cavan
Posts: 60

what about the player that wants to win or be the best they possibly can be at football? should he or she have to sit in a dressing room and wait on a team mate to show up for a game or training if they feel like or have nothing better to do??

I would say if you want to play professional sport or dedicate your life to sport then don't channel you energies into GAA. try to make it at soccer,athletics,rugby etc. GAA is and should still be about the community, the parish, giving everyone a chance. If they want to make it professional at county level then I'm all for that.

s goldrick (Cavan) - Posts: 5305 - 07/05/2015 09:41:48    1721065


SGoldrick - The issue is that the GAA have become a professional organisation whilst the ordinary players remain amateur but are expected to train and behave like professional sports people, whilst getting nothing in return. You're right, the GAA should be about community, family, the parish, giving everyone a chance, but sadly, all that is in decline. GAA HQ are only worried about the Dublin's and Kerrys and other top clubs who will fill sportsgrounds around the Country and bring in money. They have no concern about the small counties or clubs.
The fact is, there is alot of players pulling away from the GAA because the committment required is far too much for an amateur player. It is indeed win at all costs, and you can start seeing it creeping in at club level.

deanmartin (Cavan) - Posts: 643 - 07/05/2015 12:09:47    1721148


how would you choose which players to make professional if everyone is just having a laugh, not training and not taking it seriously?

wishfulthinkin (Cavan) - Posts: 1474 - 07/05/2015 12:24:06    1721161


i'm not saying we should turn it into a circus, but the reality is if the youth are not getting any satisfaction or not enjoying it they will move on.
I have seen mentors shouting and roaring at young lads instead of actually coaching and encouraging them. This also has to be a factor in putting lads off.
GAA is not for everyone and a lot of gets get rail roaded into it through school or parents or both to realise it latter years that its not for them. They either stop playing sport or play another sport or take up a sports which are more leisure orientated like golf or social cycling.
But it's a worry that there is a huge decline in numbers especially in small clubs.
Is it down to coaching, or the lack off it ?. Is it that we are not looking after our players ?
It would be interesting to do a survey involving all young players aged 16 - 18 to see what they like and dislike about the game. It might give some pointers to the problem. Maybe its something the coaching officers in the county could look into

StirringIt (Cavan) - Posts: 374 - 07/05/2015 15:21:23    1721272