Louth GAA opts to back one-round leagues, reject U17 grade and discuss senior expansion further
There was vigorous debate and pitches aplenty, yet last Monday night’s County Board meeting reached the inevitable conclusions: the league structures will remain as per 2019, U18 will be the ‘minor’ age-group, with U16 and U14 also retained, and group teams won’t compete in the upcoming senior championship.
The ‘league-and-a-half’ proposal was strongly discussed at a recent forum, with general sentiment seeming to favour its notion, but still there remained a vociferous, dissenting element whose argument it was that the present structure should be perfected prior to any evolution.
Hence, there will be 11 games in Divisions One and Two, 10 in the six-team Division 3A and 14 in the bottom tier. Two star matches are to impact around the midpoint of the respective programmes.
Meanwhile, O’Raghallaighs’ bid to have the move to U17 football rescinded was passed by a landslide majority. The North Road club’s delegate, Robert McKenna, put forward hugely logical arguments in support of their proposal, citing a real-life example of how a fifth year student playing for his side would be affected by the alteration.
But it seemed as though clubs were going to back their motion regardless, with the presentation given by the GAA’s Liam O’Neill and Alan Mulhall a fortnight previously having a counter-effect, in appearing to convince clubs that the U17 model wasn’t the attractive prospect billed.
Following on, the motion for an U19 club league was withdrawn.
And, as anticipated, in spite of Kevin Carroll’s passionate plea, Sean McDermott’s input in relation to the inclusion of group teams in the senior football championship was withdrawn, on foot of a request from Peter Fitzpatrick.
However, the county chairman committed to setting up a working group to analyse the proposal further, adding: “If we’re going to look at it, let’s do it properly”. This was graciously accepted by Mr Carroll.
Report: Caoimhín Reilly
Photo: Arthur Kinahan