Leitrim Chairman says return to underage training must be linked to schools reopening

Donal O'Grady


Donal O'Grady

Leitrim GAA Fixtures & Results September 17, 2018

The continued lockdown has brought almost everything to a halt but with green shoots of optimism on the horizon, the question has to be asked about when sport will resume in Co Leitrim and right across the country.

The GAA in the county believes that we might not see adult matches resuming until next June, but it is the effect the lockdown is having on our young people that is the main concern at the moment.

Chairman of Leitrim County Board, Enda Stenson, pulls no punches when he stresses the importance of young people, particularly those from Minor level downwards, being allowed back onto the field to train.

He believes that if the schools reopen in March then sports training should also resume for children.

“Structures where pods of 12 or 15 can train come the 1st of March has to be allowed if they are back in school. It's vitally important for their whole make up. We need this as never before,” Enda said.

“This year is starting to go on them again and that can't be allowed to happen. There has to be structures for young people to practice and there's nowhere as safe and healthy as outdoors in a field,” he added.

“Young people need to get out and get moving. They are the ones that are going to lose out, not the club or county players, they'll be fine.

“They are out lifeblood, our future in sport, not the senior players, and they are at a crossroads in life and it is more critical than ever. The body has to be in good order, the same as the mind,” said Enda.

The Chairman said the go-ahead needs to be given as soon as the schools resume and a group of people sit down in each county and organise and reorganise underage structures.

Enda admitted there is a fear out there about what happened in the country last November and December, particularly in the GAA with county finals and the All Ireland finals attracting some attention for the wrong reasons.

“There is a shocking fear in the GAA that the finger could have been pointed more at the GAA and that they were partly culpable for what happened,” he said.

He said the County Board are “in the dark” about what lies ahead and Enda believes nothing will be announced this side of Congress which takes place next week and sees incoming President, Larry McCarthy (New York) taking over from John Horan.

In the meantime, the Chairman said a strong message needs to be delivered by the GAA about re-opening training in some form for our youngsters.

“I can't emphasise strongly enough to the Government that young people have to be looked after. They are the ones that are going to mark our future and we are the ones that have to help them now,” he said.

“That message has got to be taken back to Government by our TDs and elected representatives and if they don't see that then they haven't a clue what's going on,” he concluded.