Meath star hits out as GAA set to ban fans, trophies, medals and prizes for under-12s 4 months ago

Meath star hits out as GAA set to ban fans, trophies, medals and prizes for under-12s

This has really split the room.

The GAA is planning to take the competitive element out of games and blitzes - football and hurling - for under-12s, in a bid to make the sport more inclusive, forgiving and ultimately, more focused on participation and enjoyment.


To do so, Croke Park are banning finals, trophies, prizes, runners-up medals and even the notion of keeping score in all games for kids under the age of 12.

This includes blitzes, tournaments and school games, all of which will no longer have a competitive element to them.

In fact, in order to host or attend blitzes, clubs will now have to make  an online application to their county’s Games Development Manager for approval. The application will then be approved based on its compliance with national policy which, as things stand, is in line with the GO Games mission statement.

Cumann na mBunscol at half-time of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

None-the-less, competitive school matches and blitzes do still take place - the new ruling will end all such competitions.

"GAA Go Games are Camogie, Hurling and Gaelic Football games for children up to and including 12 years of age, where every child gets to play (a Go) in every game, for the full game," reads the GO Games policy on the GAA's official website.

"Children participate in Gaelic games for a number of reasons – to have fun, to play with friends, parental encouragement, etc. Lack of fun, lack of perceived competence and an over-emphasis on competitive outcomes (which usually come from coaches and parents) are major reasons for dropout."


This development was highlighted by the Irish News, having seen an email which reminded counties that “is no facility, under association rule, for any competitive aspect within these games."

Some, such as former Meath footballer Anthony Moyles, have criticised the decision. He feels that the emotion of winning and losing is critical in the development of kids.

"This is absolutely ridiculous & is virtue signalling at its utmost," he tweeted.

"Some Kids are born competitive... others develop it. Others don’t.


"That’s life. I lost more than I ever won. You learn from it. You grow as a person. This idea that we are all winners is unbelievably damaging."

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