'Just over 30% of players have done the Junior Cert' - PFAI looking to improve League of Ireland education situation
PFAI Player Executive Ollie Cahill has spoken of the need to improve the dire situation where more than 30pc of League of Ireland players have no education beyond the Junior Cert.
The union for Ireland's football players held a survey last year which asked players to detail their qualifications and it produced stark figures when it came to school leaving - with the statistic largely influenced by youths departing for England early and then coming back to Ireland.
Five-time League of Ireland winner Cahill spoke about the issue on the new LOI Weekly Podcast where he was joined by former Dundalk captain Stephen O'Donnell, an example of a player who left school to go across the water before completing his Leaving Cert.
The union are in the process of hiring a player development manager whose primary job will be to help footballers use their spare time productively to gain qualifications and make up for any lost time.
"We did the survey last year and there was just over 30pc of players in the league who (only) had a Junior Cert," said Cahill. "There was a handful who didn't even have a Junior Cert."
Cahill says a big focus for the PFAI going forward is to try and bring that percentage up and he welcomes the debate brought about Niall Quinn's proposals for the league which centre around government support and an educational aspect to the installation of new academies around Ireland.
O'Donnell is now working as an opposition scout at Dundalk in addition to helping in the area of recruitment and he spoke about adjusting to his new role.
The guests also looked back on some of the brilliant players they encountered across their trophy-laden careers with Wes Hoolahan and Paddy McCourt given special mention.
Rising Derry City star Ciaron Harkin also featured on this week's podcast.