independent

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Steady decline on the field

AS COMPETING SPORTS DRAG NUMBERS AWAY FROM GAA, JAMES WALSH SAYS IT'S TIME TO REMIND YOUNG PEOPLE AGAIN ABOUT THEIR SPORTING HERITAGE

WE ALL know that exercise is important for our well being and it is essential to encourage young people to be active.

But yet the number of young people involved in gaa has decreased dramatically over the years.

In Ireland the number of players in a GAA club are very much decided on the club's location.

A number of contribution factors can be identified to help explain why this is occurring.

One of the major reasons for the decline in numbers is the competition for players between other leading sports such as soccer, rugby, tennis etc.

On average a GAA panel will have in the region of 20 players with variations depending on whether it's a town or country team.

By comparison an underage soccer panel would have at least 30 players and a rugby panel around the same.

But apart from this other distractions have become obvious for today's youth such as Playstation's, X-Boxes and the internet.

But these are only some reasons for the decline in numbers in GAA clubs.

The disappearance of players is most common in the transition from underage to senior level.

This is because of the lower number of matches from minor to senior level and because of the high expectations of players when they reach adult level.

According to Padge ( Skinner) Wals, a former county player and currently county team coach: 'Many (young people) nowadays go off to college and all around the world in search of work or education or perhaps for social reasons which is understandable.'

The GAA's facilities and hospitality can't be criticised for the decline in numbers as they are generally superior.

According to former minor county player Ian Byrne: ' Young lads are socialising more, they have other commitments and have other priorities. The Irish way of life is changing.'

That's why we need everyone to try and maintain our heritage and to keep our traditions alive, to teach today's youth about the pride and importance of wearing one's club jersey.

Eventually if this problem is not addressed the games may die out slowly.

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