Author Topic: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....  (Read 4927 times)

johnnycool

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Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« on: September 26, 2022, 10:57:21 AM »
Background
Congress 2016, agreed that from January 1st 2018:
That Minor inter-county age grade be moved from 18 to 17 (68% to 32%)
The knock-on effect was that county minors were no longer eligible for adult club competition (“Decoupling”)
A number of motions from clubs in the interim have sought to reverse this decision – including at Congress 2022
In addition, a Central Council motion at Congress 2022 sought to replace the current U20 inter county championships with U19 championships. This was narrowly defeated (received 55% support)
Post Congress 2022, the Uachtarαn set up a Work Group to re-examine the whole question of age grades in the Association.
Report Taskforce on Player Burnout – Dr. Pat O Neill
Recommended amalgamation of Under 18 and 21 for Under 19
Limited training load for underage squads
Strong focus on making players available to clubs post 19
Raising the age-threshold at county level to U.19 will provide greater bone and joint maturity and thereby reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries
Mobilising Forces (2012)
•   Under 17 a Developmental Age-Grade and is decoupled from Adult
•   Under 19 is the first recognised Inter-County Age-Grade in terms of All-Ireland Competitions
Report of the Minor Review Workgroup (2015) (Incl. Medical Science and Welfare Committee)
•   Demands on young 'talented players is unsustainable' leading to overuse injuries and player burnout
•   Motion passed limiting eligibility to play adult to Over 17’s
•   Recommended piloting club age-grades at Under 13, 15, 17 and 19 (or 20)
Keeping Them in the Game: Taking Up and Dropping Out of Sport and Exercise in Ireland. ESRI (2013)
 'Most drop-out events probably surround a life change, such as leaving education
•   ESRI – 16-19 twice as high as Soccer
•   Drop-off in Gaelic Games between 12–21-year-old was 58%
•   Retention Study (2016) greatest drop off between 15-17 across all sports




Review of 2016 Decision
   Group looked at relevance of reasons for change in 2016
   Agreed the reasons for DECOUPLING and changing from U18 to U17 Inter County in 2016 are still relevant. 
1.   To reduce the number of teams/managers a player is answerable to (one age grade between developmental and adult at inter-county)
2.   Remove 18 as a key age grade - lessen responsibility on senior cycle exam players (Data shows senior cycle exam pupils evenly spread between U18s and U19s now)
3.   Fixture planning – by decoupling U17’s from adult games programme - U17 inter-county competitions do not affect the adult games programme and vice versa
4.   Addressed the demands of being available to multiple teams on players at that age – and by extension overtraining/overuse injuries
5.   Reduced fixture clashes (players being made to choose between one game/team and another); or worse opting to play both in a short period of time.
   Group keenly aware that examining a return to U18 at inter county as final “Youth” grade was a key responsibility
   Also looked at what did not happen since 2016 decision (and needs to happen):
1.   Education of Units regarding Association Policy on Age Grades and what we are trying to achieve (i.e., to protect, retain, and grow underage playing base; reduce issues affecting games programme for adult players)
2.   Tiered and developmental U17 inter-county competitions (old model still in use)
3.   Failure to address the developmental “gap” at inter-county (U17 – U20)
4.   Lack of appropriate games programme for some club players post-U17 for variety of reasons (incl. split season, Covid etc)
5.   Lack of “buy in” to U19 in some counties
6.   Impact of Covid on all of the above
   Lack of clarity, sense of uncertainty and a feeling (in some instances) that we were better with what we had

Underage Task Force - Findings   
•   The importance of “De-Coupling” (i.e. at what age youth players can play senior club competition)
   Fixture planning/reduces teams players available for, managers answerable too etc.
•   Inter County and Club have to be considered as two separate questions - different imperatives and priorities for both
   Inter county should be around
•   The protection & appropriate development of our talented players over 17 – Senior.
•   Debate is relevant to a small number of players
   Club should be around:
•   Player retention & whether age grades can play a positive role in maximising the number of player who transition to adult.
•   The provision of regular and meaningful games
•   Impact on adult games programme
Debate involves the vast majority of players
   Strong view - one inter-county competition grade post U17/U18 and before senior
–   Availability of players to clubs
–   Reduces number of teams a player is eligible for/coaches answerable to
–   Congestion in inter-county calendar
–   Unsustainable cost for counties
–   Potential affect on 2nd and 3rd Level
   Two options at inter-county
   Option 1:
–   Revert to U18 at inter-county
–   Next grade up to be U20
–   Necessity of club decoupling at 18 for this model to work
Option 2:
–   Retain inter-county at U17
–   Next grade up to be U19

Option 1 - U18 and U20 Inter-county
–   Return to U18 as final Youth/Development grade at inter county
–   Final grade before Senior to be U20
–   Club decoupling would have to be at 18 nationally (i.e. a player must be 18 on January 1st of a given year in order to play Adult)
Advantages
1.   Provides for an elongated talent development process (delays deselection process by a year)
2.   Extra year for players to develop before playing Adult at club (U20 at inter county)
3.   More likely to identify future elite players at 18 than 17
4.   Culture and tradition
5.   No need for any change to current U20 inter county age grade
Challenges
1.   Is at odds with various detailed and well researched GAA reports
a.   All reports and research supported decoupling
b.   Mobilising Forces suggested 17 as final developmental age
c.   Minor Review group also identified 17; Talent Academy Report reinforced this
2.   Necessity of decoupling – U18s could not play adult club if U18 reintroduced
3.   Impact of senior cycle exams – May & June largely unusable for U18 competitions
4.   U20 intercounty greater crossover with senior inter-county panels (10% v 5%), training windows etc.
5.   U18 will have greater impact on 2nd Level Schools (Feb/March)
6.   U20 competitions will have greater crossover with 3rd Level

Task Force Recommendation on Inter-county U18
Task force are NOT recommending a return to U18 at inter-county level largely  because
1.   Runs contrary to previous reports (little has changed in interim)
2.   Impact on clubs of introducing national decoupling at 18
3.   U20 or 21 as the next grade – increased cross over Senior inter-county/Third level

Option 2 – U17 and U19 Inter-County
–   U17 as final youth/development age at inter-county
–    U19 the competitive grade before senior inter-county
Advantages
1.   Consistent with the findings of Talent Academy & other reports
2.   Many elements in place - i.e. no major change needed, only tweaks
3.   Less crossover with 2nd and 3rd Level programmes 
4.   Less crossover with senior inter county panels (U19 v U20)
5.   More time in calendar allows for round robin or tiered championships
6.   Allows for U19 inter-county to be played alongside senior inter-county championships 
55% support at Congress ‘22 for U17 & U19
Challenges
1.   Development gap post U19 inter-county – filled by participation with clubs, 3rd level, inter-county adult
2.   Impact of senior cycle exams on U19 (break in season)
3.   Overcoming tradition and culture

Summary – Inter County   
Task Force strongly recommends U17 at inter-county with U19 as the final grade before adult inter-county

Age Grades at Club Level
   Different dynamics at play than at inter-county
   Reminder:
   Inter-county priorities should be
•   the protection & appropriate development of our talented players over 17 to Senior
•   Debate is relevant to a small number of players
   Club priorities about:
•   player retention & whether age grades can play a positive role in maximising the number of player who transition to adult.
•   Provision of regular and meaningful games
•   Impact on Adult games programme
Debate involves vast majority of players
   Decoupling is at the heart of our ability to provide games, and to minimize negative impact on the adult games programme.
   It is acknowledged in the context of the above that there are considerably different needs in different counties.
-   Numbers of players in each age category may differ significantly between Counties (Club sizes – e.g. Leitrim one club per 1,300 players; Mayo one club per 2,000 as opposed to Meath/Kildare – 1 club per c. 3,500 etc)
-   Players in some counties accommodated post U17 in Adult teams (2nd or 3rd teams); not so in others
Rural and urban divide (within counties)
   A “one size fits all” model may not therefore be the best approach.
   It may be that this is something best left to each individual County to assess based on their own needs.
   In this context, there are a number of options available to the GAA to adopt as National Policy, while still allowing for flexibility in terms of Age Grades in each County.
   Decoupling MUST be a part of any option to avoid the problems of the past (overtraining/overuse/fixture planning etc)

Option 1
Current Policy – U17 is final Developmental Age Grade
   Decoupling - U17s cannot play Adult Club
   Counties must run U13, U15 and U17 as a minimum requirement
   Counties who wish to play U12/14/16 in addition to these may do so in consultation with GDC/Central Council
   Counties should run at least one age grade between U17 and Senior/Adult
Option 2
Amend national policy to allow Counties that wish to have U18 as final mandatory age grade to do so (both codes)
   Decoupling – Such counties would have a bye law that players in the U18 age grade within the county cannot play adult football or hurling
   Other grades – minimum requirement of U12, U14, U16
   (No need for Rule Change centrally – would be a matter for each county to receive permission from Central Council/GDC for their preferred model, subject to oversight- i.e. the provision of minimum games programmes, and an approved de-coupling bye law locally)
Option 3
Revert to U18 as final developmental age grade nationally (at club level)
   Decoupling – All counties to de-couple at 18 (i.e. players in the U18 age grade would not be permitted to play adult football or hurling)
   Other grades – minimum requirement of U12, 14 and 16
(Requires Rule Change)

Summary
   Work Group strongly recommends U17 at inter-county with U19 as the final grade before adult inter-county
   There are options other than the current policy available to use at club level
   Asking you to discuss these and the main points of this presentation within your County
   Revert to us with your counties view


johnnycool

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2022, 10:57:44 AM »
Thoughts?

Farrandeelin

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2022, 11:46:50 AM »
Option 1 is the best option for me. However small rural clubs may find it difficult to field teams if the u-18 can't field for adult teams. I suppose there'd be a knockdown effect down the different age groups changing from odd to even ages.
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Smokin Joe

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2022, 11:47:55 AM »
The change to U17 and U19 isn't working, at least in Armagh in my opinion, anyway.

The U19 competition is almost non-existent (maybe a few games per year) with the result that a 17 year old lad (unless he is a genuine star) won't get much club  football as they won't be fit for senior.
Like U19s, the reserve football only provides a few games per year.

Changing back to U18 would give that 17 year old lad another full year of competitive football where he will be matched better physically.

bigarsedkeeper

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2022, 11:49:29 AM »
There's no silver bullet to fix this. I understood some of the arguments for separating underage and adult football. The theory there was fine, but it hasn't worked as well as expected.

There's now a bigger gap between juvenile and adult football than there ever was and most clubs can't field an U19 team without the 2 or 3 lads that are fit to play senior football so you can't run that competition at the same time. I don't think any clubs are going to accept U18s not playing adult football outside the few really big clubs.

Option 1 will probably more votes though, I think more people think it needs changed either way.

bigarsedkeeper

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2022, 11:51:45 AM »
Thoughts?

Is this going to be 2023 or 2024 before it actually happens?

Taylor

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2022, 12:07:21 PM »
Option 1 meaning anyone playing under 18 cant play senior?

That would be the death kneel for a lot of clubs.

This is playing to the big clubs and saying tough shit to a huge number of clubs

Milltown Row2

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2022, 12:22:56 PM »
without reading all of this bring back under 18 and I like the look of under 20 as a grade.

Its been a poor enough experiment I feel. others may disagree,  kids are not built the way they used to for playing and seniors have certainly changed physically also, so I get the protection issues but there are some hairy arsed minors that wouldn't look out place on senior teams..

So you can't really always put an age on it at times
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Armagh18

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2022, 12:29:13 PM »
The change to U17 and U19 isn't working, at least in Armagh in my opinion, anyway.

The U19 competition is almost non-existent (maybe a few games per year) with the result that a 17 year old lad (unless he is a genuine star) won't get much club  football as they won't be fit for senior.
Like U19s, the reserve football only provides a few games per year.

Changing back to U18 would give that 17 year old lad another full year of competitive football where he will be matched better physically.
Play under 19’s and under 17’s. Let the stronger lads at u19 play u19 and senior. Gives a chance to lads coming from u17’s who aren’t ready for senior football another couple of years playing at their own level to develop physically for senior football.
Most lads I know would have played minor and senior games in a week not a bother to them. 

bigarsedkeeper

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2022, 12:52:39 PM »
The change to U17 and U19 isn't working, at least in Armagh in my opinion, anyway.

The U19 competition is almost non-existent (maybe a few games per year) with the result that a 17 year old lad (unless he is a genuine star) won't get much club  football as they won't be fit for senior.
Like U19s, the reserve football only provides a few games per year.

Changing back to U18 would give that 17 year old lad another full year of competitive football where he will be matched better physically.
Play under 19’s and under 17’s. Let the stronger lads at u19 play u19 and senior. Gives a chance to lads coming from u17’s who aren’t ready for senior football another couple of years playing at their own level to develop physically for senior football.
Most lads I know would have played minor and senior games in a week not a bother to them.

Down had planned on playing U19s (or 20s) and reserve football on alternative weeks. I think covid never really let that happen properly but there's something in that. The issue is managers wouldn't let them play a lot of times now.

Smokin Joe

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2022, 12:56:09 PM »
The change to U17 and U19 isn't working, at least in Armagh in my opinion, anyway.

The U19 competition is almost non-existent (maybe a few games per year) with the result that a 17 year old lad (unless he is a genuine star) won't get much club  football as they won't be fit for senior.
Like U19s, the reserve football only provides a few games per year.

Changing back to U18 would give that 17 year old lad another full year of competitive football where he will be matched better physically.
Play under 19’s and under 17’s. Let the stronger lads at u19 play u19 and senior. Gives a chance to lads coming from u17’s who aren’t ready for senior football another couple of years playing at their own level to develop physically for senior football.
Most lads I know would have played minor and senior games in a week not a bother to them.

That would be fine if the U19s was a proper competition like U17 is.
There was a huge difference in the amount of U19 games played compared to U17s.  The 19s was an afterthought and lots of games not fielded or conceded.

Itchy

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2022, 01:32:24 PM »
The change to U17 and U19 isn't working, at least in Armagh in my opinion, anyway.

The U19 competition is almost non-existent (maybe a few games per year) with the result that a 17 year old lad (unless he is a genuine star) won't get much club  football as they won't be fit for senior.
Like U19s, the reserve football only provides a few games per year.

Changing back to U18 would give that 17 year old lad another full year of competitive football where he will be matched better physically.

Have to agree, it's making a balls out of smaller clubs

DuffleKing

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2022, 01:44:50 PM »


The hardest thing to get right is the transition from underage to adult competition because of the diversity in physical development. There is no perfect solution to this. The u18 (or u18.5) argument doesn't stack up either because as generations of neglect has shown us this isn't good enough to keep the majority of players involved until they are ready for adult competitions.

Some observations
I haven't seen any evidence that there is any change in retention rates with the change in age grades (up or down)
Most counties used to cut lads loose after u18 - with an u21 championship tacked on in the winter (waste of time for long term development)
Most counties have (maybe deliberately) put no effort into planning the bridging competitions
Lower down the pathway also needs considered, i.e. the transition from Go Games into competitive grades

Bizarre that we keep going from sub committee to sub committee and from one half baked idea to another. Is there noone planning this in Croke Park who has benchmarked similar sports or run targeted pilots?

johnnycool

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2022, 02:02:38 PM »


The hardest thing to get right is the transition from underage to adult competition because of the diversity in physical development. There is no perfect solution to this. The u18 (or u18.5) argument doesn't stack up either because as generations of neglect has shown us this isn't good enough to keep the majority of players involved until they are ready for adult competitions.

Some observations
I haven't seen any evidence that there is any change in retention rates with the change in age grades (up or down)
Most counties used to cut lads loose after u18 - with an u21 championship tacked on in the winter (waste of time for long term development)
Most counties have (maybe deliberately) put no effort into planning the bridging competitions
Lower down the pathway also needs considered, i.e. the transition from Go Games into competitive grades

Bizarre that we keep going from sub committee to sub committee and from one half baked idea to another. Is there noone planning this in Croke Park who has benchmarked similar sports or run targeted pilots?

Croke Park recommendations are to stick with what they have in place now which IMO is fine for IC. Any elite player in the IC scene should only be playing at one level and I know there was a lot made of some of the Limerick hurlers being ruled out of U20 due to getting a bit of a run out for the seniors but on the whole it should be kept.

I'm not convinced that you can't still have club competitions at U18 and still "decouple" juvenile and adult at 17. We've lost a few lads @18 as they weren't keen on adult at 18 whereas some were and are doing ok, but at least have the option to keep the first lad for another year @18 and also expose the other lad to adult games if they're fit for it, but can also thrive in their own cohort.

U19 hasn't worked as from my experiences it hard to get a team together with some off to university at various times of the year and then the bigger overlap with adult.
Has any county managed to fit a proper U19 league into their schedule and when do they play it?

The other thing that the U17 thing was meant to help was exams. Doesn't help one jot in the north as you've lads doing AS's in lower 6th (Yr13) so the months of May and June have always been a struggle.




Milltown Row2

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Re: Minor, U17 or U18.. Croke Parks take on it....
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2022, 02:34:35 PM »
From a Tyronie POV...

* The "old" age system worked well as they fit well into school age profiles.

* While the jury is still out on the new age ranges, preliminarily anecdotal evidence doesn't appear to show any advantages over the older system.

* Getting the U19 age level competitions to be competitive/popular has been less than great. This year a league commenced at the start of April and the Grade 1 semi-finals have yet to be played with the last games played on the 25th April. Last year (when first established) quite a few clubs intended to enter teams but it ended up with nearly half of them either withdrawing before the start or only fulfilling one or two fixtures. This isn't exactly new in Tyrone however as in the last decade plus the U21 football championships were getting awkward to schedule/play before eventually being quietly dropped. A meaningful internal discussion/survey/census on post-U17 football in Tyrone is needed IMO.

* One thing I would agree on is that no player still eligible for the U17 grade should be playing in adult competitions. DuffleKing makes a good point in noting the varying physical development of players at this age (and below it) so you need to make a fair compromise on this and U17 is probably the best fit. The argument about this penalising smaller clubs isn't a valid enough one IMO - the way to counter that is to work on player retention. Nordie folks (mainly) will have noticed recently the story of a boy who's not even 14 years old playing soccer for Glenavon in a cup game recently to set a UK record - that felt a bit uncomfortable to read IMO especially as it was almost certainly a publicity stunt that he was brought on to play.

* Maybe it's a case of growing up in it, but I don't feel comfortable at U13 being the first "full" competitive age level. My reasons? Thirty years ago competitive football at U12 level was scrapped in Tyrone, long before the Go Games programs were adopted at a central level, with the first competitive age level for many years afterwards being U14. Looking at the evidence since it was introduced, this decision worked well for Tyrone (though it would be a stretch to suggest that this was either the only or the biggest reason) at underage development since then. In the mid-00's an autumn U13 competition was introduced, but only as a league (no championship) and with half the amount of games as the U14 league - originally it was to determine the File Peil champions and later on as a mini-competition to assist with grading at U14 level, and I felt it was a fair compromise. To me, the year's gap is a notable difference for player maturity. While a counter-argument can be made regarding school competitions & club tournaments, they're not the same IMO. Apples & oranges.

* Overall it's hard to think what would work best. None of the three options offered are ideal but then again they're not being presented as such and don't pretend to be.

Soccer is generally a non contact sport so bringing him on wouldn't be a big deal (imo)

That said in senior competitions there are physical differences that would make think twice about putting on a minor, different to the days that under 16's were regulars on their senior team, the old adage, if you are good enough then you are old enough. There are plenty of big lads at under 17 who wouldnt look out of place on senior teams..
None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Ea