GAA’s new college rule will hurt young players, says Cork’s Conor Counihan

Tyrone legend and current Fermanagh manager Peter Canavan has slammed the GAA’s new regulation which prevents players from “playing the sport they love”.

Ballymun Kickhams are 10/11 to beat Portlaoise in the Leinster Club SFC this Sunday.

The GAA Higher Education Board’s ruling states that a player may not play for his college if he has already studied two separate third level courses.

The move arises from the GAA trying to crackdown on a growing mercenary-transfer culture that is prevalent at third level education in the GAA.

Cork’s Conor Counihan is another noted critic of the new law as he watched his all-star midfielder Aidan Walsh fall as one of the new law’s first big victims. Walsh is ineligible to play for DCU as he has already studied two different courses at Cork IT.

“This seems unfair because fellows at 18 or 19 aren’t sure about their future and they don’t know which courses are appropriate,” Counihan told DCU FM.

“Each case is judged on its merits but I think it’s unfortunate that he has been a victim in this. I think like any player it would broaden his education, he would have come under top quality coaches, he’d be playing at a very high level of football and that could only be good for the development of the player so it’s a setback from that point of view.”

Canavan thinks on a broader note, that the new rule may prevent students from playing GAA at all.

“We should be trying to encourage young lads to play Gaelic football and to join teams,” Canavan told The Irish Sun.

“Preventing them from playing the sport they love is taking measures to the extreme.

“I suppose I can understand the reasoning behind it – there is a concern that a player can jump from college to college just to play football. But the reality is that I don’t think that is happening.

“The fact that this rule is in place may be a factor in whether a young lad stays at a certain college even though he may not be happy with it”.


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