| 11.4°C Dublin

Novel Under-17 competition proves a real winner

THE new Under-17 competition has been a success. Now, the plan is to increase the number of clubs taking part.

The tournament was born in a bid to prevent teenagers from leaving the sport.

A study showed that players in the U14 to U18 age groups represent a 'high risk' of dropping out of the sport.

But it has been proven that the chances of player development increases if girls competed in competitions at their own age group.

A motion was passed at last year's Dublin Convention to introduce the U17 grade, with the focus on retaining players emerging from the U16 divisions.

And it's Robert Emmet's who are the first U17 champions. They are managed by Dave Ryan and Siobhan Allen.

They had a marvellous campaign. They lost to Naomh MearnĂ³g, but they beat Raheny, St Monica's and Westmanstown Gaels.

Emmet's were one of the original founders of the Dublin Ladies Gaelic Football Association in 1985.

And they were twice county senior champions, losing four successive county finals before taking gold for the first time in 1991.

They overcame Park Rangers that year before lifting the Michael Murphy Cup again in 1994, defeating Portobello, who then went on to achieve the five-in-a-row.