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Under-age training misconduct

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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,262 ✭✭✭✭ Tell me how


    Talking about putting fire in their belly and getting silverware. They are only 8 or 9 years old ffs.

    It shouldn't have to be said but overly competitive coaches, and parents ruin games for a lot of children.

    They've tried an initiative, particularly in Dublin district soccer league I think, of the "silent sideline" where there's no be neither encouragement or admonishment of players, referees or coaches as play goes on.

    Unfortunately, lots of adults try to live vicariously through their own children or those they coach.

    The ethos of "it's how you play the game" and "winning at all costs" are very hard to integrate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 894 ✭✭✭ Choochtown


    An article about very little that has been sensationalised to sell the paper...

    "The GAA story every parent will want to read" was the headline yesterday and I'll admit I fell for it...

    2 full broadsheet pages to tell us that 1 mentor had used the f word during a training session and another had spoken to 2 players on an Under 14 panel without another adult present! I'm not excusing what happened but that article is way way over the top.

    Kimmage typically sets the drama with a quote from George Orwell's "Animal Farm" inviting the reader to only imagine the horrors that lie ahead ...

    And what does lie ahead is a club volunteer who used the f word and wrote a letter of apology for doing so and another volunteer who spoke to 2 underage players alone and so then went on a refresher course on the safeguarding of children.

    This is supposed to be the BIG story to discredit the GAA!!???

    Two points from the story that did stand out for me although Kimmage does his best to hide them amongst his fake fury and concern and Orwell quotes were:

    1. From the club: "Our policy with Under 12s is that it's all about participation, developing the player, developing the person. It's not about win at all costs"

    and

    2. About the complainants: "Two 10 year old boys decide that they would rather play for the under 14s"

    Is there another side to this story?


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,601 ✭✭✭✭ Buer


    I don't think the story here is the actions that started the whole situation....it's the response to it. The manner in which ranks were closed, the confidentiality of the initial meeting was disregarded and the complainants were treated.

    First and foremost, the actions of those involved were clearly wrong and there certainly appears to be more to the story. John Cloonan is not involved with the U14 side but took it upon himself to speak to two 10 year olds privately and tell them they would never pull on the Athenry jersey again. 10 year old kids. Regardless of what was said or not said (it's one word against another), I would think that two 10 year olds being pulled back in private to be spoken to by a club official (not their mentor) would be a very unusual situation which could be somewhat intimidating for a child.

    But it's the response that has created the situation and the attempt to obfuscate the matter through misleading information and the bizarre effort to rally support from other members of the community. To bring in multiple individuals to attend a meeting that was noted as a confidential matter is a ridiculous action. For it to lead to complainants being admonished in public view by club members is nuts. I can't imagine the complainants are particularly popular with sections of their community after being exposed in such a manner.

    People can talk about a mountain out of a molehill but, if that's the case, the club themselves built the mountain through their own reaction. If they had behaved rationally and appropriately in their response, this would have been a nothing incident that wouldn't have been noted beyond the boundaries of the local parish.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,207 ✭✭✭ Ardent


    There seems to be some confusion about why these 10 year olds were part of the U14 group. I think it's explained clearly in the article - the kids were moved up from the U11/U12 group because they were "upset by the language and atmosphere on the team".


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,054 ✭✭✭ The_Honeybadger


    Buer wrote: »
    I don't think the story here is the actions that started the whole situation....it's the response to it. The manner in which ranks were closed, the confidentiality of the initial meeting was disregarded and the complainants were treated.

    First and foremost, the actions of those involved were clearly wrong and there certainly appears to be more to the story. John Cloonan is not involved with the U14 side but took it upon himself to speak to two 10 year olds privately and tell them they would never pull on the Athenry jersey again. 10 year old kids. Regardless of what was said or not said (it's one word against another), I would think that two 10 year olds being pulled back in private to be spoken to by a club official (not their mentor) would be a very unusual situation which could be somewhat intimidating for a child.

    But it's the response that has created the situation and the attempt to obfuscate the matter through misleading information and the bizarre effort to rally support from other members of the community. To bring in multiple individuals to attend a meeting that was noted as a confidential matter is a ridiculous action. For it to lead to complainants being admonished in public view by club members is nuts. I can't imagine the complainants are particularly popular with sections of their community after being exposed in such a manner.

    People can talk about a mountain out of a molehill but, if that's the case, the club themselves built the mountain through their own reaction. If they had behaved rationally and appropriately in their response, this would have been a nothing incident that wouldn't have been noted beyond the boundaries of the local parish.

    Couldn’t have said it better, the issue was something that could have been easily sorted locally with a bit of common sense and compromise.

    The stunning incompetence and recklessness of the club officers created the story for the indo. It really is unbelievable how badly they handled the whole thing.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,602 ✭✭✭ Hitman3000


    Choochtown wrote:
    Is there another side to this story?


    The false statement, the behaviour towards the parents who made a complaint. The actions regards the club seeking support from other parents ie put in a good word. The group waiting in the hotel foyer and other areas approaching the families who made a complaint. You miss all that?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭ blue note


    As a teacher you would know the gentleman involved broke the biggest no no involved with coaching kids "NEVER BE ALONE WITH KIDS. NO EXCUSES." I put it in capitals because that's the way it is in the handbook when you do the child protection course. You say the story the kids could of been inaccurate. And it very well could have. And it very well could of been a hell of a lot worse. The rule is there to protect kids and protect the volunteers involved.

    Is the rule never be alone with a single kid, or never be with any number of kids without a second adult present? I never played underage, but my girlfriend was saying that they would be able to get a lift to / from a game if there was more than one of them, but the mentors wouldn't take a girl on their own. If teams are going to matches now do all the cars have to have two adults in them?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,005 ✭✭✭ thegreengoblin


    Squatter wrote: »
    Translation: "look over there - I don't want you looking under this stone"

    Anyway, that kind of begrudging article is the preserve of the SIndo's Gene Kerrigan so I assume that the excellent Paul Kimmage didn't want to stray into a fellow journalist's specialist area.

    Why on earth would an article like that be begrudging?


  • Registered Users Posts: 894 ✭✭✭ Choochtown


    Hitman3000 wrote: »
    The false statement, the behaviour towards the parents who made a complaint. The actions regards the club seeking support from other parents ie put in a good word. The group waiting in the hotel foyer and other areas approaching the families who made a complaint. You miss all that?


    No, I got all that and it is all evidence that the club handled parts of the affair badly.

    They've also handled parts of the affair well. (Letter of apology, attendance on a safeguarding course).

    Lots of questions remain unanswered.

    Did the parents really take their children off an Under 12 panel and "decide" that they would play at U14 level (a BIG step up) and then report the U12 mentor to the National Children's Officer at Croke Park without even so much as having a chat with him?

    Who contacted Kimmage with this information given that the article emphasises the "primacy of confidentiality"

    Is it fair that these 2 volunteer mentors get named and shamed in the national press?

    Kimmage has an axe to grind and the skills to grind it.

    Read his heavily emotive text on "Complainant A" (note that they are not identified) making a call to Croke Park ...

    He goes to voicemail ... He calls again ... "Not available right now" ... And again ...etc etc. .. ."spitting blood when he finally gets through" ...

    Kimmage makes sure the reader is rooting for complainant A by hinting that they are going through so much to get a complaint heard when in reality the opposite was true.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,602 ✭✭✭ Hitman3000


    Choochtown wrote:
    Kimmage makes sure the reader is rooting for complainant A by hinting that they are going through so much to get a complaint heard when in reality the opposite was true.


    I don't have an issue with Kimmage highlighting this behaviour. The club's actions is what caused this to become a mess. I have dealt with similar myself and the actions of the club and adults involved is very reminiscent of the behaviour of Athenry.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,162 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko


    blue note wrote: »
    Is the rule never be alone with a single kid, or never be with any number of kids without a second adult present? I never played underage, but my girlfriend was saying that they would be able to get a lift to / from a game if there was more than one of them, but the mentors wouldn't take a girl on their own. If teams are going to matches now do all the cars have to have two adults in them?

    I've certainly given lifts as a parent (not mentor) to kids with just one adult in the car, but always with >1 child in the car (except when it's just my own, of course).


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,577 ✭✭✭ Bonzo Delaney


    blue note wrote: »
    Is the rule never be alone with a single kid, or never be with any number of kids without a second adult present? I never played underage, but my girlfriend was saying that they would be able to get a lift to / from a game if there was more than one of them, but the mentors wouldn't take a girl on their own. If teams are going to matches now do all the cars have to have two adults in them?

    I'm an u10 football mentor in kildare and the rule is never be in an suitation where you are alone with any child be it one or one hundred.
    I can bring my own 3 children to a match but I couldn't bring another player to a match unless there is another mentor traveling with me.
    But my brother who isn't connected to the gaa at all can fill the car with as may kids as seats he has.
    The rule is to protect the mentors as much as the chidren


  • Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭ Soulsun


    lawred2 wrote: »
    Billy big balls bullying kids

    Probably referred to as a legend about town

    This carry on is happening in many other clubs imo


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,577 ✭✭✭ Bonzo Delaney


    Ardent wrote: »
    There seems to be some confusion about why these 10 year olds were part of the U14 group. I think it's explained clearly in the article - the kids were moved up from the U11/U12 group because they were "upset by the language and atmosphere on the team".

    Surely the advise would against letting 10yr olds compete with u 14s big step up in completion and physical strength no matter what their skill set is considering they prob had 2 years left at u12s depending on date of birth


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,316 ✭✭✭ Widdensushi


    Fair play to all the mentor's giving up their spare time, it must be a nightmare dealing with difficult kids and even more difficult parents when you can't even occasionally curse.


  • Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭ Soulsun


    Surely the advise would against letting 10yr olds compete with u 14s big step up in completion and physical strength no matter what their skill set is considering they prob had 2 years left at u12s depending on date of birth

    Some coaches and parents are numpties.
    Some have never even played gaa and are managing teams.
    This craic off playing kids way over their age bracket is another elephant in the room and wide spread in the gaa. It's a complete shambles.
    Whose agenda are they suiting ??? Certainly not the kids.
    Fairplay to PK....

    From reading previous comments it appears we have all witnessed similar issues in other gaa clubs in Ireland.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,724 ✭✭✭ nice_guy80


    Only when you work with children and deal with parents everyday of the week will you realise how words and actions can be turned and manipulated in order to suit a certain agenda.

    I'm not saying the club isn't in the wrong here
    However, some parents go out of their way to cause trouble, when there is no trouble.
    They make life a drama


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,724 ✭✭✭ nice_guy80


    Soulsun wrote: »
    Some coaches and parents are numpties.
    Some have never even played gaa and are managing teams.
    This craic off playing kids way over their age bracket is another elephant in the room and wide spread in the gaa. It's a complete shambles.
    Whose agenda are they suiting ??? Certainly not the kids.
    Fairplay to PK....

    From reading previous comments it appears we have all witnessed similar issues in other gaa clubs in Ireland.

    In many clubs a 11 year old will have to play U14 due to small numbers

    I've rarely seen a GAA coach use bad language to their own kids. At any level.
    They might use it towards the opposition or the ref but rarely their own kids


  • Registered Users Posts: 894 ✭✭✭ Choochtown


    Let's get this much clear:

    Kimmage is not highlighting kids being made to play out of their age bracket. In fact his article is very much supportive of the parents who decided to put their 10 year old kids in the u14 squad due to the U12 mentor using the f word at a training session.

    I am not condoning the language at all but Kimmage has based his sensationalised article around this very minor incident.

    It is extremely unfair that this mentor (remember the only accusation against him is that he used the f word during a training session) has been named and shamed in a national newspaper. Someone who freely gives his time to train the kids. Someone who it appears wasn't even approached by the parents in question about his language. They went straight to Croke Park (and it appears Paul Kimmage as well) about this very minor incident.

    The irony here is that Kimmage triumphantly writes about the parent being cautioned for "his emotive language" when he talks to the GAA National Children's Officer!!!

    Pure hypocrisy from Kimmage who clearly has a problem with the GAA.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,819 ✭✭✭ big_drive


    nice_guy80 wrote: »
    Only when you work with children and deal with parents everyday of the week will you realise how words and actions can be turned and manipulated in order to suit a certain agenda.

    I'm not saying the club isn't in the wrong here
    However, some parents go out of their way to cause trouble, when there is no trouble.
    They make life a drama

    Agree 100%

    It’s amazing when you go back over details etc and get to the truth how inaccurate the original version has been. Very dangerous


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,629 ✭✭✭ Rubberchikken


    I read the full article. Its shameful tbh.
    Their willingness to attempt to brush the whole thing off, to distract from the facts, is worrying in this day and age.
    Comments about players parents battling cancer, raising money for same, being an outstanding person in the community etc is a pathetic attempt to sidetrack from the facts.
    What adult locks themselves into a room with underage kids? Have these people ever learned anything from all the news from the past few years?
    Have they attended and , more importantly, paid attention to child safety guidelines courses?
    Theres a level of arrogance that should be dealt with by people at the highest level in the gaa.
    These trainers are treated like gods in their area. Allowed to behave in whatever way they wish by fools who will sacrifice their principals so that their kids can play gaa.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,841 ✭✭✭ Squatter


    Why on earth would an article like that be begrudging?

    Because of its content, obviously!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,841 ✭✭✭ Squatter


    Fair play to all the mentor's giving up their spare time, it must be a nightmare dealing with difficult kids and even more difficult parents when you can't even occasionally curse.

    Some kids have extremely thick parents, right enough.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,522 ✭✭✭ Happyilylost


    Choochtown wrote:
    It is extremely unfair that this mentor (remember the only accusation against him is that he used the f word during a training session) has been named and shamed in a national newspaper. Someone who freely gives his time to train the kids. Someone who it appears wasn't even approached by the parents in question about his language. They went straight to Croke Park (and it appears Paul Kimmage as well) about this very minor incident.

    Choochtown wrote:
    It is extremely unfair that this mentor (remember the only accusation against him is that he used the f word during a training session) has been named and shamed in a national newspaper. Someone who freely gives his time to train the kids. Someone who it appears wasn't even approached by the parents in question about his language. They went straight to Croke Park (and it appears Paul Kimmage as well) about this very minor incident.


    This doesn't add up to what's written in the article. And it wasn't one incident of swearing. It ended with a letter being handed to the chairman of Athenry GAA club stating they were unhappy with the coaching of this team signed by sixteen people. I can't imagine one incident of swearing led to this. Parents of The U12 team voiced concern at an AGM November 2016. The two 10 year olds that left The team in March 2017 I don't think would of been part of this 2016 complaint as they would of been U10's not U12's The previous season. The "going straight to Croke Park" has nothing to do with the first coach or his swearing. It's to do with the second and more serious issue of a club official speaking alone to kids about something that while not clearly stated seems to have little to do with him. The club could of dealt with this issue long before Croke Park but they seemed to think if they ignored it it would go away.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,682 ✭✭✭ Fann Linn


    Not the first time either according to Kimmage- 2015 letter of complint to O' Maoitheal and complaint to the Gardai.

    Something doesn't appear quite right here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,601 ✭✭✭✭ Buer


    Choochtown wrote: »
    Let's get this much clear:

    Kimmage is not highlighting kids being made to play out of their age bracket. In fact his article is very much supportive of the parents who decided to put their 10 year old kids in the u14 squad due to the U12 mentor using the f word at a training session.

    I am not condoning the language at all but Kimmage has based his sensationalised article around this very minor incident.

    Again, this article is not about a mentor using swear words in front of children. The article is about the conduct of St. Mary's and their overall response to a situation concerning their conduct around their responsibilities to children. The swearing and the dressing room incident are purely the catalyst.

    The issue here is the response and the behaviour of the club overall. The article is salacious in it's tone and obviously written from a certain perspective but I don't believe it's being sensationalised. A major club being suspended by its own governing body from fielding juvenile teams is a major incident that will receive press attention.

    The fact that two men whose behaviour prompted the situation are widely named is unfortunate as they haven't done much to deserve such stress. With that said, this clearly goes beyond just a swear word or two. 16 parents of a single team signed a letter of complaint which was delivered to the chairman. That isn't a case of one or two disgruntled parents who are offended by their child not starting. That's a major chunk of any panel.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 11,812 ✭✭✭✭ evolving_doors


    Choochtown wrote: »
    Let's get this much clear:

    Kimmage is not highlighting kids being made to play out of their age bracket. In fact his article is very much supportive of the parents who decided to put their 10 year old kids in the u14 squad due to the U12 mentor using the f word at a training session.

    I am not condoning the language at all but Kimmage has based his sensationalised article around this very minor incident.


    It is extremely unfair that this mentor (remember the only accusation against him is that he used the f word during a training session) has been named and shamed in a national newspaper. Someone who freely gives his time to train the kids. Someone who it appears wasn't even approached by the parents in question about his language. They went straight to Croke Park (and it appears Paul Kimmage as well) about this very minor incident.

    The irony here is that Kimmage triumphantly writes about the parent being cautioned for "his emotive language" when he talks to the GAA National Children's Officer!!!

    Pure hypocrisy from Kimmage who clearly has a problem with the GAA.

    I'm condoningthe language... actually the GAA do too.

    A very minor incident!!!

    As a teacher if I swore at kids and detained them in a room on my own to tear strips out of them like that. I would be totally dragged over the coals.
    Then to circle the bandwagons and isolate 2 families from a community! I thought those days were over. Those other parents who got caught up in it should have smelled a rat when they were summoned to a meeting.

    It's funny because it's true.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,316 ✭✭✭ Widdensushi


    And most withdrew their complaint according to the article


  • Registered Users Posts: 894 ✭✭✭ Choochtown


    This doesn't add up to what's written in the article. And it wasn't one incident of swearing. It ended with a letter being handed to the chairman of Athenry GAA club stating they were unhappy with the coaching of this team signed by sixteen people. I can't imagine one incident of swearing led to this. Parents of The U12 team voiced concern at an AGM November 2016. The two 10 year olds that left The team in March 2017 I don't think would of been part of this 2016 complaint as they would of been U10's not U12's The previous season. The "going straight to Croke Park" has nothing to do with the first coach or his swearing. It's to do with the second and more serious issue of a club official speaking alone to kids about something that while not clearly stated seems to have little to do with him. The club could of dealt with this issue long before Croke Park but they seemed to think if they ignored it it would go away.


    Good point although the 16 signatures could be from anyone. Judging by further information in the article it would seem that the 16 people who signed the letter would not represent a majority of parents of the U12 panel.

    However I do agree that it was not handled at all well by the club.

    The fact remains that Kimmage has named and vilified someone in a national newspaper for nothing more than using the f word. Someone who has for years willingly given his free time to coach young people. I think that's out of order. Do you?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,682 ✭✭✭ Fann Linn


    Choochtown wrote: »
    Good point although the 16 signatures could be from anyone. Judging by further information in the article it would seem that the 16 people who signed the letter would not represent a majority of parents of the U12 panel.

    However I do agree that it was not handled at all well by the club.

    The fact remains that Kimmage has named and vilified someone in a national newspaper for nothing more than using the f word. Someone who has for years willingly given his free time to coach young people. I think that's out of order. Do you?


    My sympathy lies with the 10 year olds who were vilified.


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