Clubs vote for even years at underage

Damien Donohoe In Stradone

Cavan has become the latest county to return minor grade to under 18 after Monday’s county board meeting in Stradone. In one of the most debated topics over the last number of years, Cavan has opted to decouple at 17 years of age, which will allow teams to select players to play both adult and minor football in the same year.

The process was far from straight forward with two separate votes taking place to decide the issue.

The first vote taken by the meeting was the decision to decouple at either 17 (option 1) or at 18 (option 2).

When the results were returned option 1 won by 76 votes to 10 which then ruled out one of the four options in the second part of the vote.

In that second part of the vote, option 1 was to keep things as they have been since 2018 which is competitions at under 13s, 15s and 17s with the decoupling age at 17.

In order for each option to progress to a vote they had to be proposed and seconded from the floor. With all 40 football clubs in attendance no-one proposed option 1 to progress to the vote which sent a strong message that the clubs wanted change.

Option 2, which was to return to even age grades with decoupling at 18 was no longer on the table as the first vote to decouple at 17 had made it null and void. Option 3 was to return to even age grades with decoupling at 17. In this option there would be under 14, 16 and 18 competitions. Option 4, which was brought forward by the Gowna club, was to have a form of competition for every age grade starting with Under 13s and playing at least one competition at under 14s, 15s, 16s, 17s, 18s and either under 19s or 20s.

In the discussion it was pointed out that the overlap of the minor championships and the adult championships would cause a problem in Option 3 as some players would be involved with both teams. It was also a concern that the entry point to competitive sport would now be under 14 which it was felt would be too late in a child’s development. The county board clarified that it was a national rule that there cannot be competition at under 12 level, so to change this was not an option.

It was also pointed out by the county board that they felt the 60 hour gap recommended by Croke Park, between a player playing minor club football and adult club football was not enforceable. In Option 4 it was questioned whether the under 18 competition would work as it’s timing on the calendar would collide with inter-county under 17 and 20 competitions.

The vote came back in favour of Option 3 with 54 votes winning over the 34 votes that Option 4 received. At the end of the meeting the Gowna club proposed and received a seconder for the addition of an under 13 competition. That motion passed.

The meeting also discussed the motion going to national congress to remove Cavan and four other counties from the national hurling league with the board and clubs strongly against this proposal.