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GAA Discussion => GAA Discussion => Topic started by: LooseCannon on July 11, 2019, 11:09:20 PM

Title: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: LooseCannon on July 11, 2019, 11:09:20 PM
From a thread that I’ve started on uibhfhaili.com.

Just saw that Edenderry’s junior team received a walkover from Clonmore Harps, having got one from Ballyfore the week before, with neither side being able to field teams.
It’s a sad sight. I wouldn’t know too much about either, but I get the impression that mere existence is becoming challenging.
Unfortunately, things aren’t looking to positive into the future for small rural clubs. In a few years time, we realistically could be down 4 or 5 clubs in quick succession.
This is happening all over the country. Meanwhile, the GAA seem content with the Super 8s and don’t give a tuppenny about the grassroots.

Just my few thoughts. Feel free to throw in your own thoughts. I’m just vexed with the GAA, standing idly by as clubs are falling into the abyss of non existence, day by day


Apologies for initiating this amidst the super 8s, but I’m bloody well pissed off.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: sligoman2 on July 11, 2019, 11:16:46 PM
What exactly can the gaa do?  Is the reason for player shortfall due to emigration or lads pissed off with the uncertainty with the club scene.  In fairness the gaa have tried to help improve the scheduling issue in most cases.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: manfromdelmonte on July 11, 2019, 11:32:51 PM
We need full time rural GAA development officers with a rural development plan

maximise playing numbers at underage level in conjunction with schools
there's a growing disconnect in many places between the rural GAA club and the local school and families.


look at playing numbers and decide on amalgamations both at underage and adult level
run tournaments and appropriate competitions if clubs have smaller numbers
15 v 15 doesn't have to be the model for clubs to play
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: thewobbler on July 11, 2019, 11:44:29 PM
The easy out is to blame the GAA.

Was chatting to a mate from another club recently; one of those clubs that traditionally farm from one primary school, with a handful of outliers to bolster the numbers.

There’s only 7 boys in his 8 year old’s primary school class, and a similar number the school year below.

The only way his lad is going to grow up playing Gaelic Games is in amalgamation teams. That’s not the GAA’s fault.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Substandard on July 11, 2019, 11:59:49 PM
Planning restrictions are going to finish a lot of smaller rural gaa clubs.  In the underage championships, Division 1 is mainly big traditional clubs that have strong numbers, with maybe one or two amalgamations/ combination teams.  As you go through Divisions 2 and 3, it's the opposite- maybe one or two stand-alone teams, and the rest are combined.  To be fair to any of the combined teams I've come across, it's not like they are picking the best 15 players and leaving 18 or 19 on the bench.  They simply couldn't function as a stand-alone entity.
The GAA landscape across rural Ireland will eventually mirror successive government dismantling of rural Ireland.  First Garda stations, then post offices.  Guaranteed next up will be primary schools.  It's sad and worrying when you think about it.  I'm sure plenty will say suck it up, that's progress, and efficiency, and it's not feasible to to keep these kind of services open across the country, etc, etc.  Maybe they're right, but I grew up in the country.  It's home.  I got an education, I got a job away from home, I've lived in the city, I've lived in the town, but the last few years I've moved home and commute to work, and do a bit to help out at home.  Some day, please God, I'll be married and have kids, and I'd want them to grow up in the country.  I'd like for them to play with the local club, even if they'd be playing u16 at 12, just to make up the numbers as we've had to already.  But I fear that by the time all that comes to pass, our club will be no more.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Rossfan on July 12, 2019, 12:00:43 AM
As loose might be aware there are several underage amalgamations in Roscommon including a three club one in the North.
Unless jobs move to small towns and consequently people move to or remain  in those towns or adjoining villages and country places the amalgamation trend will continue and become permanent at adult level too.
Whatever about the odd County lad you're not going to see club lads declaring for their parent's home places.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Ball Hopper on July 12, 2019, 01:48:56 AM
Areas of South Kerry now have three clubs combined to field a minor team.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: thejuice on July 12, 2019, 04:39:02 AM
Rural Clubs around eastern Meath near the commuter belt are doing ok. They’re getting a boost from families moving there that don’t want to live in the bigger towns like Ashbourne, Rathoath, Dunboyne or Dunseaghlan. But go to north Meath and it’s a different story.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Farrandeelin on July 12, 2019, 07:39:17 AM
Myriad of Mayo teams amalgamating at underage. What remains of their adult teams in 20 years remains to be seen. We already have Hollymount-Carramore formed from such an amalgamation.

Erris St. Pats- Kiltane/Ballycroy.
Ardmoy - Ardagh/Moygownagh
Naomh Pádraig - Ballycastle/Killala/Kilfian/Lacken

That's North Mayo alone.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: macdanger2 on July 12, 2019, 08:51:42 AM
Myriad of Mayo teams amalgamating at underage. What remains of their adult teams in 20 years remains to be seen. We already have Hollymount-Carramore formed from such an amalgamation.

Erris St. Pats- Kiltane/Ballycroy.
Ardmoy - Ardagh/Moygownagh
Naomh Pádraig - Ballycastle/Killala/Kilfian/Lacken

That's North Mayo alone.

I think there might be 5 clubs in NPs Farr? Not sure who the 5th is though

It comes down to jobs - there are none in many of these areas so rather than commuting, people choose to live closer to where they're likely to find work. As a result, there are no young families in these areas and no children - I was talking to the public health nurse for the Ballycastle area and she's had one child born so far this year in her area so it's only going one way
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: shark on July 12, 2019, 09:29:37 AM
Rural Clubs around eastern Meath near the commuter belt are doing ok. They’re getting a boost from families moving there that don’t want to live in the bigger towns like Ashbourne, Rathoath, Dunboyne or Dunseaghlan. But go to north Meath and it’s a different story.

Similar enough in Westmeath, in that the clubs growing fastest in underage numbers are the rural clubs close to large towns. The Downs, Shandonagh (both on edge of Mullingar), Caulry (Athlone), and Kinnegad (Dublin!), have been the top underage clubs in the past 5/6 years. Outstripping the 4 Mullingar-Athlone town teams.
However, just like you say in North Meath, if you move to the more remote parts of the county there are clubs struggling massively. The reality is there are less kids living in these places than once was the case. Amalgamations have been necessary at underage for a long time, but may be needed at adult level in time. Any positive changes the GAA could make (some mentioned above) would only slow the change, rather than prevent it.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Dinny Breen on July 12, 2019, 09:58:17 AM
It's not just about rural depopulation, it's a societal issue. Kids have so much choice, it's no longer your GAA or soccer choice or even rugby. Kids now have dozens of sports to choose from, they have video consoles, laptops/PCs/tablets/mobile phones, throw in various youth clubs etc. Most households have 2 cars so travel restriction is not an issue every alternative is out there.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: macdanger2 on July 12, 2019, 10:36:06 AM
It's not about rural depopulation, it's a societal issue. Kids have so much choice, it's no longer your GAA or soccer choice or even rugby. Kids now have dozens of sports to choose from, they have video consoles, laptops/PCs/tablets/mobile phones, throw in various youth clubs etc. Most households have 2 cars so travel restriction is not an issue every alternative is out there.

Maybe not in Kildare but it certainly is in Mayo
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Dinny Breen on July 12, 2019, 11:21:44 AM
It's not about rural depopulation, it's a societal issue. Kids have so much choice, it's no longer your GAA or soccer choice or even rugby. Kids now have dozens of sports to choose from, they have video consoles, laptops/PCs/tablets/mobile phones, throw in various youth clubs etc. Most households have 2 cars so travel restriction is not an issue every alternative is out there.

Maybe not in Kildare but it certainly is in Mayo

sorry meant not just, of course rural depopulation is a massive factor.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Lar Naparka on July 12, 2019, 11:56:10 AM
It's not just about rural depopulation, it's a societal issue. Kids have so much choice, it's no longer your GAA or soccer choice or even rugby. Kids now have dozens of sports to choose from, they have video consoles, laptops/PCs/tablets/mobile phones, throw in various youth clubs etc. Most households have 2 cars so travel restriction is not an issue every alternative is out there.
I think it’s both. Dinny. You’ll find societal change everywhere, even in Dublin and the larger urban centres, but rural depopulation adds to the problem in the more isolated regions, like along the western seaboard.
From a GAA point of view, both issues spell disaster and unless there are radical changes to reflect those trends, the association will be in serious trouble.
Dublin doesn’t have rural depopulation to contend with but the changing lifestyles of kids is the biggest problem here.
Dublin GAA is under as much threat, if not more, than any other parts of the country as the counter attractions for children in the capital are more numerous and more easily available.
Pumping money into Dublin is like sticking plasters on the Titanic- well- intentioned but ultimately useless.
But, to stay with the topic, rural clubs are hemorrhaging numbers and the evidence is clear to be seen. Amalgamation is a help but isn’t practical in all cases and at best can only slow the process down but can’t halt it.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Heshs Umpire on July 12, 2019, 02:17:34 PM
From a thread that I’ve started on uibhfhaili.com.

Just saw that Edenderry’s junior team received a walkover from Clonmore Harps, having got one from Ballyfore the week before, with neither side being able to field teams.
It’s a sad sight. I wouldn’t know too much about either, but I get the impression that mere existence is becoming challenging.
Unfortunately, things aren’t looking to positive into the future for small rural clubs. In a few years time, we realistically could be down 4 or 5 clubs in quick succession.
This is happening all over the country. Meanwhile, the GAA seem content with the Super 8s and don’t give a tuppenny about the grassroots.

Just my few thoughts. Feel free to throw in your own thoughts. I’m just vexed with the GAA, standing idly by as clubs are falling into the abyss of non existence, day by day


Apologies for initiating this amidst the super 8s, but I’m bloody well pissed off.
Very sorry to hear that about Ballyfore and Clonmore. Would know of their struggles in recent years.
I haven't heard of any Laois club in that position this year but it's fair to say that the likes of Kyle and Barrowhouse who are stuck in corners bordering other counties are always under pressure.
Underage amalgamations are necessary in nearly every football club in Laois. Maybe 6 or 7 stand alones.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: LooseCannon on July 12, 2019, 02:36:47 PM
I’ll let Bracknaghboy set the scene from uibhfhaili.com. There’s more to it than meets the eye, going back years.
“Ballyfore have been relying on lads to tog recently who backboned the team 20-25 years ago. They must be abstaining a lot there because they have produced almost no young lads at all to fill the boots. Also they used to pick up a few disillusioned Edenderry players but that seems to have dried up. Of course they had an intercounty player a couple of years back who choose to leave and seek glory with Edenderry and Clonmore Harps would have had two intercounty players had they not sought glory with Rhode as well (remember all that??).........when guys do that it has a really negative impact on the future of the small club.
I know folk from both Clonmore and Ballyfore and it'll be tough if these clubs go under as there are people at both clubs who have poured their heart and soul into it but things look bleak now for them.”

There’s a good few more going to go from talking to people from various clubs, including former Offaly players and all Ireland winners. Generally the clubs are on or near the periphery of the county.
Realistically in ten year’s time, we could be down 7 or 8 clubs. Unfortunately, that’s being realistic.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Ringfort on July 12, 2019, 11:44:12 PM
In fairness I think throughout the history of the GAA rural clubs have come, gone or amalgamated depending on local, national and international economic realities. Rural depopulation is far from being the GAAs fault and it's not really the governments either. That whole picture is far bigger.

Not from the club but was looking at Kilmore (RN) history recently. For outsiders (and no offence to any kilmore people who might be reading) this is a place in the back arse of beyond, sandwiched up in north Roscommon in a corner against the Shannon and with no through traffic on the road to no where. Agricultural land is marginal at best and when I played on the pitch as a young lad it was growing reeds and rushes as much as grass.

But in the early days of the association a few different entities operated as clubs in the current Kilmore area. They came and went and Kilmore itself almost went in the post war period only resurfacing as an adult team in the 70s. It's a very proud club to this day but is fielding amalgamated teams at underage in recent years as population problems hit again for a second time in their history. Maybe in years to come Carrick will explode and Kilmore will benefit from an overspill and the numbers will swell again. Or maybe the club will dissolve or merge with the likes of Shannon Gaels, or Kilmore lads will end up playing with Strokestown or Elphin depending on which end of the place they come from.

Point being it's happened before and will happen again. It's not anybody's fault as such, certainly not the GAAs , the wheels of history turn and rural clubs like this will come and go.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: GalwayBayBoy on July 13, 2019, 01:06:23 AM
More and more underage amalgamations on the way I imagine. Often between neighboring clubs who would traditionally be big rivals. And then those lads go their separate ways as they get older and are expected to knock seven bells out of each other. Changed circumstances for sure. I know in Galway probably the most well known of the amalgamated clubs is Northern Gaels up in rural north east Galway. Who are actually an amalgamation of 3 clubs let alone 2.

Quote
Three parishes came together recently in Glenamaddy Community Centre for the launch of the new Northern Gaels GAA Club. The club is an amalgamation of Glenamaddy, Williamstown and Glinsk GAA clubs at underage level under new chairman, Alphie O’Brien and his hard-working committee.

PRO Anne Marie Crehan said the move was necessary in order to provide regular football for young players locally.

  “We have Glenamaddy, Williamstown and Glinsk. The three have come together out of a need for more players at underage level because none of the three have had adequate numbers for the last few years and they’ve had to concede games.

  “Williamstown and Glinsk had come together in the last two years but then decided that even with two teams together there still weren’t sufficient numbers so they decided to bring Glenamaddy on board as well,” she said.

  A committee of 12 was formed last September and has met regularly since. The committee has been working behind the scenes in order to ensure the amalgamation went as smoothly as possible.

  “As you can imagine there are politics involved (laughs). When you have two clubs there’s a certain amount of politics, but when you have three even more so. We formed a committee that was made up of an equal proportion of representatives from each of the three parishes,” said Anne Marie.

  Every aspect of the new club was looked at including Northern Gaels’ new club colours and identity.

  “No club wanted to have just their colours involved so we came up with a brand new jersey and a brand new crest.

  “We have (come up with) a new name because we found it was going to be very difficult to put together Williamstown, Glenamaddy and Glinsk so we just decided to go with something completely different to form a new identity so that all of the three parishes felt equal in it. Because we’re north-east Galway we went with Northern Gaels. It sounded like a good name and everyone seemed happy with it”.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Jayop on July 13, 2019, 01:16:49 AM
There's so many factors in this that the gaa have zero control over. Rural depopulation is the biggest I think. Competition from other sports bigger now than ever. Other non sports pass times are more widely available. Xbox, TV, youth clubs, so much choice. My young buck is eleven, played under 6 and 8 but was onky going because I wanted him to and he doesn't any more. I'm still hoping he decides to go back but it's unlikely. You cant blame the gaa for that.

The gaa though does have other things it can control and they don't do a good job of that. Fixtures are the no1 issue. Over training, shite football. Maybe drop the numbers to 13 a side and smaller clubs will find it easier to fill a team.

It's tough.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: BennyCake on July 13, 2019, 01:54:25 AM
Id imagine expense is a big thing nowadays.

Years ago you only had a field to maintain, and changing rooms mightn’t have been much, an old portacabin maybe. And before that, behind a hedge.

Nowadays, it’s floodlights, coaches, clubhouse, management teams, gym, ice baths, social club, bar staff, insurance, running costs etc. That’s a lot of money for a small rural area to constantly maintain.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: thebackbar1 on July 13, 2019, 09:08:26 AM
Rural clubs are a vital part of the GAA and its simply not good enough for the association to ignore them

* make it easier to run clubs, simplify the job of being the secretary etc of a club

* preparation of teams nowadays is becoming more and more time consuming, this means more and more people are saying no thanks to getting involved with teams. This needs to be examined seriously.

* the association should give smaller towns more matches, the galway v mayo match should have been held in roscommon Town last weekend
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Rossfan on July 13, 2019, 09:22:30 AM
Should HAVE >:(.
It certainly should gave been but that still wouldn't enable St Ronans or Kilmore or Ballinameen or the others to field their own underage teams.
Is there an optimum population to sustain a vibrant club?
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: manfromdelmonte on July 13, 2019, 09:43:15 AM
The GAA is becoming more and more a 'top down' organisation whereas it was always a bottom up organisation

Solutions to the rural club issue have to come from the clubs.
Amalgamations cause an issue of the less capable players dropping out earlier. They might have stuck at playing with their own  club and friends, but once it goes into a bigger group, a higher standard of play and training you will see a lot of kids stopping playing around 14.

Years ago clubs ran more social tournaments - 7 a side etc. That seems to be totally gone.

There definitely seems to be less and less support coming from the parents for the club and the young players.
People are time poor.

The GAA are implementing policy now where you cannot give a trophy out at an U10 tournament, or they won't grant permission for it to be run??
You cannot run your own summer camp unless you host a Cup Camp first???
Clubs are being dictated to far too much
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: thewobbler on July 13, 2019, 09:43:48 AM
Rural clubs are a vital part of the GAA and its simply not good enough for the association to ignore them

* make it easier to run clubs, simplify the job of being the secretary etc of a club

* preparation of teams nowadays is becoming more and more time consuming, this means more and more people are saying no thanks to getting involved with teams. This needs to be examined seriously.

* the association should give smaller towns more matches, the galway v mayo match should have been held in roscommon Town last weekend

1. I’m not sure how the GAA can make it easier to run clubs. In my experience it’s internal politics, desires, conflicts and occasionally ignorance, that take all the time.

2. The clubs have created this beast themselves, and whether you like to hear it or not, is the result of progress. Clubs no longer hope for success; they will invest every available hour and euro in pursuit of success. There is genuinely nothing that the centralised GAA can do to prevent this.... and let’s think about this, would we really want to limit progress?

3. If there’s 7 boys in a primary school class, then it wouldn’t matter if Jim Gavin and his back room team spent the next 10 years in that parish; they’re still going to lose the numbers game.

—-

Amalgamations are essential.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Hawkeye9212 on July 14, 2019, 02:42:44 PM
There is a future for a lot of small rural clubs but not all. A lot of clubs within commuting distance of a city or large town will survive. I don't see an issue with amalgamation in sparsely populated areas. The aim is to preserve Gaelic games in these areas.
Title: Re: Is there a future for small rural clubs?
Post by: Itchy on July 14, 2019, 04:49:06 PM
Every club should be asking themselves these questions...

1- how many u6s are in our schools this year and are we getting  them all out. Are we doing enough to get them all out.
2- from last yrs u6s, how many are still with us at u8
3- from last yrs u8s, how many are still with us in u10

And so on.

Too many clubs are failing at this level, they have not recognised that they are competing for hearts and minds where once upon a time they didn't have to.

The number of clubs that simply don't have numbers to harvest us very small in my opinion but those should look to amalgamate with a similar small club if possible.