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Players asked to choose one sport or the other - Opinions

  • 09-06-2024 12:59pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,852 ✭✭✭

    A situation has come up in my club and I am looking for opinions or experiences with this type of thing….its a long one so bare with me.

    We are a developing hurling club in a non hurling county. In the last few years, we have entered an adult team at a lower grade for the first time, something the club is very proud of. The catchment area we are assigned is pretty big and includes 3 adult football teams operating at a high level. We pull players from these 3 clubs. As we are a non hurling county, football is king with hurling being the second cousin you don't speak to at weddings.

    Over the past 2 years, footballers who tog with us have been told to choose either Football/Hurling or the choice will be made for them. In other words, choose football or you're gone. This happened last year at the end of our season so the impact was minimal. However, this year they have been told to make their choice before our Championship season starts and while football is still in the middle of their league season. Our hurling championship will be finished two weeks before the football championships begin.

    Our squad is small and these "threats" have impacted us greatly with lads now distancing themselves from hurling, for fear of losing their place on their football squad. This is a young adult team who are being told what to do and it doesn't sit well with me and the rest of the club. We are strict on the ethos that players will never be asked to make a choice when it comes to committing to one sport or the other. The panel we have is talented and we are conscious of the workload they are subjected to as part of the football panels.

    In the next couple of weeks, there is a situ where hurling is scheduled on Friday with Football scheduled for Saturday. One panel have been told that due to player welfare, they aren't to tog for hurling on the Friday. However if the Hurling game is moved to the Sunday, then work away. In other words, players welfare isn't the issue at all but more we want lads fresh for football but don't mind if they are wrecked for hurling Sunday.

    Does anyone have any opinions or experiences in these type of situations and how would/did you address them?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,644 ✭✭✭Buddy Bubs

    Yeah I've experienced it loads.

    I played rugby in a club in a catchment area where there would have been 4 or 5 GAA clubs. I played GAA until about age 20 too. Loads of lads liked to play both, the GAA club didn't like us having other interests, soccer as well. Soccer or rugby didn't mind us playing other sports. I think the lads in the other gaa clubs got similar hassle but mine was the worst.

    I stopped gaa because of the constant nonsense. They asked me to play again over the years but had lost interest. Apparently similar ultimatums happen to underage players today. They think they own you, club before everything else. Get stuffed.

    I guarantee you if the lads stick to their guns it will be fine, it'll probably come down to whether the player is any good or not.

    GAA clubs can be parochially toxic at times.

  • Registered Users Posts: 349 ✭✭gossamerfabric

    take up MMA and/or Golf like my nephew. Their loss.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,523 ✭✭✭MacDanger

    I don't have any experience to offer I'm afraid but if it's happening within your own club, I'd advise meeting with the football management team in your own club and see if you can work something out.

    With the other 2 clubs, it's understandably going to be more difficult since they have no ties to your club whatsoever and no motivation to help you. Again, probably the best thing you can do it try to meet the other clubs and see if you can work out something so that the pressure is not being put directly on the players to choose

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,852 ✭✭✭statto25

    We are actually 4 separate clubs so we have no affiliation with any of the football teams. Thanks for the advice, the hope would be to meet with the football management and sort it out however, one member of the football management team is extremely volatile and has a very large say in what happens. Its an absolute mess and could result in us being unable to field this year, which is a crying shame for the other players on our panel.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,865 ✭✭✭munchkin_utd

    Thats ridiculous . Football and hurling are under the same umbrella and unless youre intercounty it is surely manageable to coordinate both codes.

    The GAA president is quoted today as saying that a dual club isnt an inconvenience (regards to scheduling etc) rather its something to be aspired to. I'd be very temped to suggest that a letter to HQ naming and shaming could be in order.

    It would go down exceptionally badly with the club most likely should they get a nice letter from HQ asking them to facilitate hurling but feck it, if you were to feel that you cannot get the thing advanced then whats there to loose.

    Slight tangent but with the one club model due to be universal very soon, clubs are going to have to have policies to work out pitch allocation but also the Camogie / LGFA coordination will need to be laid out much clearer for dual players and the football hurling is no different so should be part of the same discussion.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,478 ✭✭✭✭callaway92

    While it's completely against everything the GAA stands for; I can see it from a Management perspective if the team would be considered an 'elite' club that is looking at potentially winning top level county titles etc.

    A player playing another sport could hinder them/the team.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,325 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    If a kid was a track runner, their coach would tell them they were going nowhere if they weren't going to train properly for it.

    If a kid was a Cyclist, their coach would tell them they would never win races if they weren't going to focus on it.

    If a kid was taking part in an MMA fight the night before a big Boxing match, their Boxing coach would likely think it impacts their performance.

    So why is it that some GAA coaches think kids should be training and playing two different sports at the same time?

    The Hurling club here is being just as selfish as the football clubs, I bet they are more interested in getting the good players than they are about player welfare.

  • Registered Users Posts: 349 ✭✭gossamerfabric

    It is an amateur sport for the enjoyment of the player, not to build the social reputation of the Management team.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,852 ✭✭✭statto25

    These arent kids, these are adults and as Ive explained, the load we put on our players is minimal as we understand the level of commitment for competitive football. Also, no we don't just want the "good players". We welcome players of all abilities and have several who have only picked up a hurl for the first time as adults and brought them in with open arms.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,105 ✭✭✭techdiver

    Ah yes, things like this is why I turned my back on the GAA despite having played both codes (one at a high level). As others above have said the GAA is one of the most parochial organisations ever. It breeds coaches and managers who seem to have nothing else going on in their life apart from the mighty GAA.

    It's actually laughable if it wasn't so serious and having such an impact on younger people. The GAA lost the run of itself in the 00's when every junior club team tried to behave like a professional outfit, with drinking bans etc. I remember one of the last years I played I was being made feel guilty at the prospect of missing a game due to being a groomsman at one of my best friends weddings.

    The GAA needs to have a long look at itself or they risk turning off a large cohort of young people becoming involved. No other sporting organisation I've been involved in over the years has the over the top attitude that the GAA has.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,325 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    Kids or adults, the point still remains, you aren't going to be as competitive as you could be if you are doing two sports at the same time. Do you really think the boxing coach is going to be happy about the 30yr old man taking part in MMA the day before his boxing match? Of course he won't be, and he is going to tell the boxer exactly why it is a problem.

    You are trying to steal players away from another club and are complaining that they are trying to protect themselves.

    If you can attract players away from football then grand, but you should be focusing on the players who are unaffiliated or who actually want to change, not trying to piggy back on the players already committed to a team.

    Nobody bats an eyelid when a rower focuses all their energy on training for that, they don't complain that the rower should also be cycling competitively every weekend as well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,852 ✭✭✭statto25

    Steal players away? Incorrect, we were approached by this same group of players to form an adult side. My complaint is that adults should be allowed make their own decisions. Not the old "play for us only or your gone" attitude. The fear tactic. The same manager bleats on about player welfare while picking out individuals in the dressing room for being hurlers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,325 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    Now you are back to player welfare.

    But you are the one who wants the players to compete in two sports simultaneously, the other manager does not. Which is better for player welfare?

    If they are adults then they are allowed to make their own decisions, they aren't slaves. You just don't like that their decision would be to pick the football.

    But that doesn't change that they should be choosing, it is better for them to focus on one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 933 ✭✭✭Tomw86

    I've seen this happen with the soccer club I was involved with underage.

    On my own team, once we reach U13/U14 and players went in to secondary school (in some prominent rugby schools) the schools pressured them to give up soccer and commit to rugby due to the fact they didn't 'promote' soccer. We were in the top school league at the time and lost a few to this.

    In addition, within the club, we lost a fair few at other age levels to the local GAA club who regularly compete for Dublin and All-Ireland championships. The soccer club actually lost one in particular who is now on the Dublin panel so his choice probably worked out.

    But it is the pressure being put on at that age that is wrong and it does continue as these 'kids' move in to adult levels at these sports.

  • Registered Users Posts: 326 ✭✭csirl

    A lot of kids play multiple sports at the same time and can do it successfully. Pressure shouldnt be ever put on an underage athlete to chose one sport over another - doing do is a child welfare issue in its own right. Kids should be free to choose. Some kids will dabble in multiple sports. Some kids will prefer to concentrate on one. The majority of kids will only ever play recreation sport. Underage coaches who think they're in the Senior All Ireland, Premiership, 6 Nations etc. Probably shouldnt be coaching underage athletes.

    Personally I think playing more than one sport at underage level produces a much better, more skillful athlete in later life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,852 ✭✭✭statto25

    If they choose football then so be it. They should be allowed to make that choice of their own free will, not told pick or else.

    The same management are unhappy if a player plays hurling on a Friday and football on a Saturday/Sunday. However if the football is played first and the hurling the next day then that's fine. They simply see us as an inconvenience and a scapegoat for poor performances. Either you have skin in this particular conversation or you're intentionally twisting my words for some reason only you know yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,325 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    No need to be so precious about an opinion that you have to start throwing out insults.

    Your problem is that you cannot see that they are making that choice of their own free will. They could choose hurling over the football if they wanted to. You don't want them to have to choose because it suits you better that way, even if they perhaps should focus on one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,325 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    Pressure should never be put on an athlete to do multiple sports at the same time.

    Having to choose isn't the bad thing that the OP is framing it as.

  • Administrators Posts: 53,632 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    They're not making the choice of their own free will though, isn't that the entire point here?

    They wanted to play 2 codes, they were told this was not acceptable. It takes quite a bit of mental gymnastics to suggest they're making a decision to play only 1 of their own free will.

    GAA is amateur, this sort of thing is pure nonsense.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,325 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    Ok, they wouldn't be making a choice if they didn't have to.

    But I still maintain that making a choice is not inherently a bad thing.

    It isn't some "GAA amateur" thing to make a choice between two conflicting desires.

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  • Administrators Posts: 53,632 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    The choice is a bad thing when the entire sport is supposed to be amateur. Surely an amateur organisation that is supposed to be run for the players should be celebrating increased participation in its games?

    If the lads were paid to play football the manager of the football team would have a legitimate complaint that they aren't managing their lifestyle in a way that the club wants.

    But they are not paid, what they do with their own time is their own decision. The football manager should be concerned about how they train at football and how they do in matches. Outside of that, their time is none of his business.

    If they are willing to play 2 days in a row then fair play to them. If they play hurling and their football performances suffer the manager is well within his rights to drop them, but telling them they will be dropped simply for playing hurling, even if it doesn't affect their football in any way, is pure bollocks IMO.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,325 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    Are you going to maintain that playing multiple matches in a short period of time will not affect performances?

    We all know it does, so the idea that what they do in their own time doesn't matter is just faulty logic. You admit that the football manager should be concerned with how they perform, and its a simple fact that performance will be affected by playing other matches in advance, it simply is.

    You are basically saying that the manager should let them do it and then drop them when they underperform, but how is that good management? Is it not better to highlight what will happen and prevent it instead?

    Payment has nothing to do with it, absolutely nothing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,428 ✭✭✭celt262

    If there are Hurling/football matches fixed the same weekend how are other clubs dealing with it as no doubt your club is not the only club with lads who play both?

  • Registered Users Posts: 134 ✭✭Greengrass53

    I was playing both at a reasonably high club told me to choose one or the other. So I went with GAA.

  • Administrators Posts: 53,632 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    Are you going to maintain that playing multiple matches in a short period of time will not affect performances?

    No, I am going to maintain that playing multiple matches in a short period of time may, or may not affect performances. Some lads will be well able for it, others won't. It doesn't sound like the hurling is at a particularly high level, which will reduce the fatigue.

    Even if they are slightly affected, so what? Again, it's an amateur sport supposed to be run for the players. There's no money at stake, it's not a professional win-at-all-costs setup (or at least it's not supposed to be).

    Payment has everything to do with it. The GAA is an amateur sport and these managers are pretending to be professional. Expectations on amateur sportsmen vs professional sportsmen should be completely different, one group is doing it as their job and the other are doing it for fun.

    This is just like the stupid drinking bans, pretending like everyone who plays GAA at a decent level needs to lead the lifestyle of an elite professional athlete.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,852 ✭✭✭statto25

    There are no insults in my post, just accusations. Very big difference

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,852 ✭✭✭statto25

    Of the clubs who are playing at the higher grade of hurling, there is an understand between football and hurling in the catchment areas. The crossover of footballers and hurlers in the other clubs is probably less also. While our catchment area is large, this area is only in its infancy. Our adult team is very dependent on those 3 football clubs going forward. In time and as our underage pool grows, hopefully we wont have an issue but we are a long way off that right now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,940 ✭✭✭LambshankRedemption

    the GAA club didn't like us having other interests

    I've seen this first hand. A load of guys I was in the Scouts with were told they could not tog out if they continued going to Scouts - 2 hours on a Monday evening, nothing strenuous. Instead of going, what did they do instead? They played in the field near their home whatever the weather. It wasn't player welfare the GAA cared about it was about control.

  • Registered Users Posts: 326 ✭✭csirl

    I think you're missing the point. Its up to the player to decide how much time they want to dedicate or whether or not something else in their life, whether it be another sport, pasttime or occupation (many are tiring) is worth doing, even if it impacts on their performance. Player choice, not pressure from a coach.

    Here's a question - do GAA coaches such as yourself ask players who do manual labour or have jobs which mean they cant make every session to change jobs? I bet not.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,370 ✭✭✭Audioslaven

    I would not be surprised to be honest. Ultimately it is the players decision but they dont want to be falling in between two stools either. These football clubs are paying managers who in turn want to be successful so they will apply any pressure they feel will give them a better chance of success and keep them in their role. In fairness if you are a starter in both hurling and football, with football having a higher standing, then these managers will apply pressure so they align with football only. I think I know the club the OP is talking about and while they have made good progress, they are always going to be second best and the football clubs will tolerate them to a degree as long as they don't impact the football. That is just the way it is.