Search icon


29th Nov 2021

Joe Brolly takes to social media to vent frustrations at GAA u17s rule

Lee Costello

“A 17-year-old is too young to understand the deeper significance of the club. If he does not get regular games, he is gone.”

Joe Brolly is the latest to come out against the new minor rule, where instead of the traditional u18 age group, it has become u17.

This means that a whole year group of teenagers are missing out on an extra year at minor level and have to make the jump to senior level even sooner.

The u20s has been a “disaster” according to Brolly, who states that all of the minor players who are good enough to play seniors go straight into the senior set-up, leaving a group of players in the wilderness.

Joe Brolly believes that the rule change will lead to young players feeling “disillusioned.”

Brolly tweeted a link to his article in The Independent, where he explains of all the issues this rule change has caused, and he has been met with gathering support on the social media platform.

“Restoring u18 is of fundamental importance our future, vastly more important than the structure of inter county competitions or the size of the GPA grant.

“With participation collapsing at 17, we are haemorrhaging players, future coaches, volunteers, & administrators.”

Minor champions Meath celebrate their All-Ireland success

Although most agreed with his stance on the issue, others questioned it, with one user in particular asking “Is there data to support this opinion?”

Brolly credits Kildare for maintaining the u18 age group for their minor championship campaign.

Brolly, not one to avoid the big questions, replied to his Twitter sceptic, but you might not be surprised to suspect a small hint of sarcasm from the former Derry star.

“Yes. If you check the website [email protected] you will see under the section headed “critical data” the relevant rates per club.

“Research carried out by UCD Statistical Science Dept using advanced Numerical Spectrometry provided by ASSW technologies.”

The former RTE pundit also referred to Kildare as a case study of success, as their county board has simply continued using the u18 model, but also introduced an u23 age group as well.

Although Brolly says that the u23 group has proven to be a success, it isn’t really in line with his main point – that the u17 rule needs to go back to u18.

Why this rule was ever brought in to begin with is still a mystery, as it didn’t seem like anyone was really calling for it.

At u18, at least you can still be in minors right up until you leave school, rather than alienating a whole year group of teenagers and forbidding them to play with people their own age and level.