Friday 22 September 2017

Dubs and Kerry favour switch from U-21 to U-19 grade

Dublin Under-21 players gather for a 'selfie' as they celebrate with the cup
Dublin Under-21 players gather for a 'selfie' as they celebrate with the cup
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

They may have won three of the last five All-Ireland U-21 football titles, but Dublin want to see the competition brought to an end and replaced by an U-19 competition.

The support for this change in grades was registered as part of an overall discussion on the second segment of the Football Review Committee's (FRC) findings at their most recent county board meeting.

The FRC has not recommended cutting two years off the U-21 grade, but has suggested that the current minor grade drops from U-18 to U-17 to relieve pressure on the most relevant age group (u-18) with regard to the Leaving Cert. In supporting an U-17 competition, however, Dublin also feel U-19 instead of U-21 is now preferable.

Kerry, the second most successful county at U-21 level with 10 All-Ireland titles, would also favour an U-19 competition in the future.

Like Dublin, they also discussed this as part of the FRC debate ahead of next week's Central Council meeting that plans to establish consensus on the report.

A majority of Kerry delegates were in favour of supporting an U-19 grade in conjunction with U-17.

The prospect of an U-19 competition has also been discussed this week by Kildare.

Six years ago a special Congress rejected a motion to move to U-19 by 115 votes to 58. At the time, high-profile counties like Mayo, Galway and Tyrone were against the proposal.

However, the effects of burnout and the fixtures congestion that wreaks havoc every year have only intensified in the meantime.

Support for the FRC's pillar proposal on championship structures, to establish four provinces of eight teams (they suggested switching first-round losers in Leinster and Munster into Connacht and Munster, but are open to other suggestions), is also thin on the ground.

Dublin have joined Cork, Mayo and Meath among others in rejecting the proposal.

Irish Independent

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