The tradition of playing the All-Ireland minor finals before the senior finals may be at risk if proposals by the Connaught Council are put into place.
Connacht has prepared proposals which would see a complete overhaul of the minor (U-17) grade, based on a three-tier format, ending with the All-Ireland finals all played on the same day in Croke Park. The provincial football championships would continue as normal, followed by the eight finalists playing off in two round-robin groups of four to produce All-Ireland finalists. Tier 1 would comprise the top eight, with the other two tiers made up the other 24 teams, depending on where they exited their provincial championships.
The manager of Connaught’s coaching and games development John Tobin, wants to see an improvement of the games-to-training ratio.
“Our U-17s should be playing as many games as possible, rather than training endlessly for a few outings. If we just bring down the age limit by a year, we will merely be adding to the load on lads who are socially, emotionally and biologically less mature.”
Tobin does accept that it is contentious argument the removing of the All-Ireland minor finals before the senior finals but argues that it is for a better development of players of all counties, rather than just continuing to indulge the stronger counties.