The changing of the grades is still a big bone of contention for many GAA fans since its introduction.
Minor has been changed for u18 to u17 while u21 was removed in favour of u20. This was done with the aim to help players’ welfare and remove stress around exam time. However, now we are seeing kids doing the junior cert playing in minor All Ireland’s, while lads doing the leaving cert are in doing u20 All Irelands.
Former Kildare and Kilkenny hurler John Mulhall was pretty scathing with his opinion on the topic. Speaking as a recent guest on our dedicated GAA podcast the Clash Act, Mulhall had this to say;
“This change of grades is the biggest travesty to ever happen to the sport. The whole thing was player welfare and exams. It has just after moving it.”
“I do not know why it was moved, people were just changing things. This needs to be reverted.”
See below: GAA age-grade changes explained by Paraic Duffy
Speaking of his own experience Mulhall, who claimed many Leinster titles and one All Ireland at underage levels, alluded to the fact that the distraction of sport helped him and many others with their academics over the years;
“When I was 17 Brother Damian was over our minor team, he was a principal out in Callan, a teacher all his life. He said the best thing for them to do, is you are here from 11 am until 12.30 pm, run around for an hour and a half. Then you will be able to study ten times as much in the afternoon. This was the done thing.”
“Out of that team, you have Doctors & lawyers. The same was it was for 40 years previous and ten years after.”
“The big argument was lads are now doing this and that and if they broke their finger, lads could get hurt but sure now they are doing All Ireland finals two weeks before their leaving cert.”
What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments.
Listen to the full Clash Act podcast with Eddie Scally below :