Minor age change queried
Changes in the education cycle could render it unnecessary for the GAA to cut the minor age limit by a year as a means of reducing pressure on young players.
That's according to Paul Kinsella, Kilkenny's Central Council representative, who also has reservations about the wisdom of having a squad of U-17s exposed to the high-profile events that the minor championships have become.
"The pre-school year will increase the age at which children start primary school.
"That will make a big difference as many of them will be five years old when they start.
"After that, there's a 14-year cycle so they will be 19 when they're doing their Leaving Cert in years to come. That's not the case now.
"We're considering reducing the minor age limit from 18 to 17 years on the basis of what has been in place for years but it will change in the future so we have to ask ourselves: do we need to drop it down to 17 if students are going to be nearly 19 when they're sitting the Leaving Cert," said Kinsella.
He also queries whether it would be appropriate, from a personal development viewpoint, for minor panels to be made up of U-17s only.
"It's a big deal for players to win an All-Ireland minor title, or even to be in the final, and you have to ask if the limelight would be good for a squad made up of under 17s only.
"Personally, I would have my doubts. Being a star minor at 17 can bring its own challenges.
"We need to think carefully about what we're doing because sometimes we tend to make decisions without considering the full implications down the road," said Kinsella, a retired school principal.
Kilkenny allow their delegates to make up their minds on how to vote at Congress on the basis of the various debates which, in the case of the proposed minor age limit change, is likely to be both fraught and lengthy.