The season of burnout madness has begun
Published 04/01/2016 | 02:30
The sheer abuse of U-21 footballers must be the greatest disgrace in GAA fixture-making.
Last weekend, several counties started playing off in the Hastings Cup competition which is a warm-up for the provincial competitions in the grade.
In a year's time, in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2016, there will still be lots of these players involved in their local U-21 county championships.
In most counties U-21 seems to be the 'hind-tit' of competitions and viewed as the one to be played off when everything else is finished.
In the meantime, these young men will be involved in an orgy of competitive games - most notably from now until early March - when the majority will be preparing for and taking part in the various third level competitions such as the Sigerson Cup.
The Leinster and Ulster U-21 championship will also commence during this period.
This is pure madness and breaks all the rules about avoiding mental and physical burnout.
Yet rank-and-file GAA people continue to scoff at the very notion of burnout and the risks it poses to young players.
Is it any wonder the biggest drop-out rate in football occurs between the ages of 18 and 21?
But who cares?
Ah sure, they are only young players after all.