The findings of a recent study by third level college students show that 500 players have left Mayo GAA clubs over the last six years.
The research which was done by students attending NUI Maynooth found that 530 players left clubs in the county during the period from 2006 to 2011. Britain was the number one destination for these young players as they attempted to seek a new life away from Ireland and the ongoing recession. Australia and America were next on the list, while Dublin was the main city for those remaining at home. Sligo born Dr Mary Gilmartin who was responsible for the study said:
“There were more transfers recorded in 2004 than in any other year. I think it is coming home to people now that in previous years a player could leave his club but the opportunity to return was there.
“Now players are more likely to leave for much longer periods. During the Celtic Tiger, a player leaving a club didn’t seem like a big deal.”
Last month Sportsnewsireland reported that Kerry football had lost 100 players already in 2011 due to emigration. No doubt similar figures have been recorded throughout the country and the total numbers are almost certain to reach four figures before the end of the current year.