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Ned O'Sullivan: Minor system needs rethink

KERRY minor football manager Mickey Ned O'Sullivan has called for a revamp of the U-18 championship, labelling the current system "unfair."

The Kingdom legend was speaking after seeing his side lose the All-Ireland semi-final, a stage they reached despite having lost twice in the Munster championship.

Kerry lost out to Tipperary in the Munster quarter-final before negotiating the back door to reach the provincial decider -- only to fall again to the same opposition.

However, as beaten provincial finalists, they were afforded entry to the All-Ireland series.

But O'Sullivan pointed to Cork's experience this season as an example of the problems with the system in Munster. The young Rebels lost out in the provincial semi-final, but under the current competition structure weren't afforded a second chance.

Leinster follow a similar structure to Munster, but only the beaten finalists in Connacht and Ulster are given a second chance in the All-Ireland series and O'Sullivan called for a rethink ahead of next year's competition.

"The Munster Council will have to look at it. The purpose of minor football is to get every county playing for as long as possible during the summer. It's crazy that you had Cork out just because Tipp beat them and they had no second chance," O'Sullivan said. "They were gone in May. We are still there in September. They have to bring a bit of fairness into it.

"All they have to do is run it in the same way as the seniors and there would be no problem. I would hope that next year all the semi-finalists in the province would have a second chance. There is no logic to this."

And while Kerry's wait for a first All-Ireland title at minor level since 1994 goes on, O'Sullivan insists the right structures are now in place to produce successful senior teams in the future.

"Rome wasn't built in a day. It's the small things that make the big things happen. It's about getting the foundations. I have no doubt, I am 100pc convinced we have the foundations, but we now have to build on them.

"Clubs have got to buy into it -- and they are. Parents must give plenty of support -- and they are. The county board have provided the structures to allow us march into the future. There are so many people with vested interests in this and they have to be rowing in the right direction."

Irish Independent