SUGGESTION Connacht GAA Council Secretary John Prenty. Pic: Sportsfile
A LEADING GAA official has told The Mayo News that proposed changes to the minor grade at inter-county level could see the football and hurling championships return to the Under-18 age-grade next season.
Connacht GAA Council Secretary, John Prenty told The Mayo News last night that while last Friday evening’s All-Ireland Under-17 final in Hyde Park was ‘a huge success’, there is growing momentum for a change to the age-grade next season.
“I think everyone sees the need for change. There is merit in the Under-17 grade but, personally, I feel the players are probably too young for such intense championship competition.
“There was a motion at February’s Congress (which was held in Bekan) looking to change the grade to Under-19. That got 55 percent support. Now, there’s a review taking place to see look at this and other proposals and it’s expected there will be a Special Congress in October to deal with the matter,” Prenty explained.
The proposal at the GAA Congress in Mayo earlier this year would have seen the end of the Under-17 and Under-20 championships, but it didn’t receive the required 60 percent support from delegates on the floor.
There were also three motions from clubs calling for the old Under-18 grade to apply to minor again. Now, the review committee is looking at all aspects of the matter and Prenty feels they may revisit the Under-18 grade proposal.
“Personally, I think the minor grade should be at Under-18,” he said.
“There’s a huge difference between Under-17 and Under-18 football and hurling and there seems to be a growing sense of this throughout the association,” he added before turning his attention to Friday night’s All-Ireland final hosted by the Connacht Council in Hyde Park.
“It was a huge success. The difference between playing in Hyde Park and bringing the game to Croke Park was huge. We had more than 12,000 adults and a huge amount of children in Roscommon at €15 per head. If the game was in Croke Park on All-Ireland day, both teams would have got 3,000 tickets priced at €90.
“The atmosphere was special and the fact there were two Connacht teams in the final shows our round-robin format was a success. Minor football is all about the development of players and the more games they play the better. Mayo had eight games and Galway had nine.
“That can only benefit those players going forward,” he added.