The topic of the decline of GAA clubs in rural areas raised its head on Full Time on Monday night.
We recently wrote an article on St. Martins, a rural Kilkenny club, and the highs they experienced in the 80s by winning the All-Ireland Senior Club Championship. These days the side are currently embroiled in a relegation battle on the intermediate side of things after failing to pick up a win in the league. Similarly, Graigue Ballycallan are winless in the senior ranks, a stark contrast to finishing runner-up in the All-Ireland Senior Championship in 2001.
So what has changed? Sure sport ebbs and flows between highs and lows, but there is an increasing cause for concern with potential players leaving for pastures new, with all disciplines in the GAA affected. Just look at Galway football talisman Shane Walsh.
The former Kilkerrin-Clonberne clubman made waves recently with his desire to leave Galway for newer pastures in the Dublin Senior Football ranks due to work. This is despite his former chairman Ian Hynes vowing to fight the transfer, an objection was not lodged and ultimately approved by the Central Competitions Control Committee. Kilmacud Crokes was his destination, making his debut recently as a second-half substitute and grabbing himself a point.
Responding to an article in the Independent on the struggle of some Galway clubs to survive at all levels, former Carlow hurler Pat Coady told the show it’s not just an issue specific to the West of Ireland.
“It is a massive issue all across the country. I have said in my own club St. Mullins for years. It is a numbers game when it comes down to it.”
“With the way demographics are going, with people moving to more urban centres where employment is, it is hard to see how it will be slowed down.”
Listen back to the full interview below on Full Time: