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HopeSprings
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PostSubject: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:23 am

I write this open letter out of despair about where Kildare is going. As a people supporting our county we need to decide what is best not only for our county but also for the future of Gaelic Football within the county. I write as a person who has played inter county football and who has won county championships and league division one titles. Football in Kildare is dying, it is dying because the roots of the county are dead.

The roots I speak of are the clubs of the county. The facts are that the standard of club football is in the most appalling state. I would say that only Sarsfields, Moorefield, Athy and Celbridge could compete at senior level in Dublin and even of these four it is not certain they would all survive. The competition these teams face is nothing more than cannon fodder in the championship. The attendances at club championship has dwindled and with competing interests from a variety of sports that are now accessible to the youth of today nobody cares as much for club championship. This leads to the poor standard we now see. The junior championship is a complete embarrassment and while the intermediate is competitive it is still poor. This is having a knock on effect on the county team. County managers no longer attend championship games to source new talent they go so everyone can see they have attended but in reality they have learned nothing.

This weekend sees the start of the Aldridge, Dowling, Keogh cups and it is more rubbish upon more rubbish. If we are ever to compete against the likes of Dublin again we need to scrap the Championship structures at the moment. Kildare should no longer have a junior and intermediate grade just one senior grade. We need to look at amalgamations among rural clubs maybe along parish or geographic lines. Let’s take a look at some of the facts.
Ballykelly were unable to field a team in League games last year.
Caragh & Raheens are intermediate teams from the one parish.

Look at the trashings Johnstownbridge, Raheens and Kevins have taken in last years Division 1. The trashing’s Robertstown, Ballykelly, Ballymore took in Division 2. The fact that Kilcullen struggle in Division 3.
In my time playing with Kildare there were players capable to playing inter county however the standard they were forced to play at club level ensured they never reached their potential and this also affected Kildare ultimately. This can no longer be allowed to continue. We need to bring teams together and make a serious Championship in Kildare. This pooling of resources will also allow for a really good second team instead of what happens at the moment where some chap who doesn’t want to play serious football runs rings around some 50 year old or teams pull out during the league cause they can’t field. Here is a list of teams that I propose:

1. Sarsfields
2. Moorefield
3. Celbridge
4. Athy
5. Carbury
6. St.Laurances + Grange
7. Monasterevan
8. Clane + Ardclough
9. Johnstownbridge + Clogherinkoe
10. Round Towers
11. Ellistown + Rathangan
12. Kilcock + Cappagh
13. Naas + Two Mile House
14. Sallins + Raheens
15. Eadestown + Ballymore
16. Lexilip
17. Maynooth + Straffan
18. Confey
19. Athgarvan + Suncroft + Kilcullen
20. Kildangan + Nurney + Ballykelly
21. Milltown + Ballyteague
22. Allenwood + Robertstown
23. Castledermot + Castlemitchell + Rebhan
24. Caragh + St.Kevins + Rathcoffey

This would make 24 serious teams and would lead to real meaningful matches with strong teams or due to population size have the ability to develop. Dublin club championship is so strong that it is only a matter of time before it is shown live on TV Kildare must be proactive and move with the times.

Yes their will no doubt be club member around the county not happy with this suggestion and will say my great grandfather sweated bloody to build this club and while we must respect and appreciate this the fact remains time has moved on people have cars now, more sports to choose from and we as a county must move with the times. To have a competitive inter county team we must have a competitive club championship. Some players will be moved to the second team some might not play Senior football for as long but they will play better football when they are there. ADAPT OR DIE
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Gaa1928
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:27 am

The main problem with all that is that for the last 8 years or so county panelists are just not allowed to play for their clubs until August ( except for the first round of the championships in May). Probably why Moorefield and Sarsfields don't have too many county players anymore but continue to dominate senior club championsip football in the county.
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kildaregaa365
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:35 am

Wow - that's quite an opening contribution Hope!

Really interesting take on the club situation. Living outside the county for the past 30 years I am somewhat removed from the club scene these days but I do like your thinking. You could perhaps take it a step further and operate senior on a proper regional basis like Kerry and other counties do. I'd liken it to what happened when rugby's provinces became clubs. That consolidated the best players together and (albeit with the help of professional wages and structures) raised the standards at that highest level.

Mind you, despite it being 30 years since I donned club colours (and that only at under age level) the thought of my home club linking up with our bitter local rivals from those days sticks in the craw a bit. You'd also have to be careful that the clubs continue to make the effort to promote the game amongst the youth (knowing that the amalgamated "regional" club would benefit from it in the long term.

Thought provoking all the same.. Keep posting
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Ohtoohtobe
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:58 am

Sorry but the list of club mergers is funny. You're obviously from one of the ones that will get to stay on its own. While we're at it, why don't we merge with Offaly at county level?

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kickingking
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:12 am

Is the club scene really that poor? I would have thought it's in a reasonably healthy place at the moment. Kildare clubs have traditionally performed well in the Leinster junior and intermediate competitions since they were introduced about ten years ago. Senior level is a different story but it is fairly competitive between four or five teams - Sarsfields, Moorefield, Athy, Celbridge and at a stretch Carbury. Larries would have been up there but have fallen back.

It's no surprise that the clubs that have been doing well have developed very good underage structures over the years. Most Kildare clubs seem obsessed with appointing outside managers on huge expenses in the hope that it will lead to improvement. I believe a lot of these clubs would be far better off if they appointed their own men from within and ploughed any money they have into their youth teams. Too many are trying to build castles on foundations dug into sand.
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lomond
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:47 am

Would it improve the standard if we reduced the senior and intermediate championship down to 12 teams, so over two yrs we increase junior by 4 teams. Junior is very poor currently.
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bag of white
Intercounty
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:55 am

Re-merge Leixlip and Confey too while you're at it.
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lomond
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:18 am

Who do Kill join with??
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fatherted
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:12 am

Kildare clubs have been fairly competitive when they've contested games outside kildare the last few years. Interesting points though
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e.s.b.
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:54 am

Its a thought provoking post Hope. I wouldn't agree that the club scene is as poor as you say, but there is certainly lots of room for improvement. Would having more senior teams make a stronger or weaker championship? Would cutting the number of clubs in half lessen the overall catchment pool of players ? Nearly all clubs now have at least two adult teams,some 3, some 4, so would the new clubs continue to provide football for all those players? A lot of those amalgamations or similar already happen from u14 to u21, Does this improve the standard of our underage competitions and teams ? It probably does imo. Is the sole purpose of the clubs to provide players for the county team or is it to provide football for the players in your local community? I see a lot of clubs doing huge work at underage, and a big improvement in organisation at the youngest age groups. Maybe combining clubs would result in better pooling of resources, more access to better coaching, more streamlined competitions? but the danger as i see it would be that it would lead to a fall off in volunteers who get involved for their local teams and would play into the hands of other sports who would pick up the players that don't find a home in the new clubs, and ultimately narrow your player base. Would a better approach be to invest in coaching at the youngest level in all of our clubs which currently cover every corner of the county? I don't know the answers but they are some of the questions that spring to mind.
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Frankel
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:21 pm

I personally think the opening post is complete hyperbole altogether. Look there are always going to be some hidings in the league for teams missing players etc. In my experience as a player playing club football for the last 12 years the strengths of the championships are as good as they have ever been especially the intermediate which is very competitive and of a good quality. Why would you go merging all these clubs when they can all easily field teams on their own. You are just reducing the number of players you can pick from and also limiting the opportunities for other players. Amalgamations just don't work in Kildare and I feel any clubs that are having problems should be looking at improving their own underage structures and not looking at amalgamating with other clubs which in my opinion is a cop out and short sighted and really only kicking the can down the road.
Also if you think the club championships are bad in Kildare (which they are not) you want to have a look at some of neighboring counties like laois, wicklow and a few others where I can assure you the standard is about ten times worse overall.
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tomoneillandhissisteranne
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:57 pm

[quote="Frankel"]I personally think the opening post is complete hyperbole altogether."

Now that made me smile Smile
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Cilldara_2000
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:13 pm

Frankel wrote:
I personally think the opening post is complete hyperbole altogether.

Completely agreed. It's just coming out with a few ridiculous amalgamations with no regard to the traditional underage set up in these clubs, nor their current strength regarding playing numbers at all ages. There are plenty of the smaller clubs mentioned who have fielded two teams throughout the current recession with all the emigration problems that entailed. All the big clubs have no problem fielding 2 to 3 teams, and probably should field more teams given the access to population they have.

And the idea of just throwing a few small clubs into bigger clubs so the bigger club can just pick and choose their best players won't work. If you look at the history of underage amalgamations in Kildare, the long standing amalgamations and the ones worked best are those involving clubs of similar size. Whereas when you put, relatively, a big club with a small club, the big club just ends up dominating that amalgamation to the detriment of the development of football in the smaller club.

The day that my club would be forced into such an amalgamation at senior level would be the day that I walk away from the GAA.

The main problem I would point out with the current system in Kildare is that, unlike in Kerry, every player is not afforded the opportunity if he is good enough to play senior club football. What's wrong with allowing intermediate and junior clubs form divisional teams solely for the purposes of a senior championship to allow every player that opportunity without going about destroying the club structure within the county which is far away from being dead.

My own club has been on both receiving and giving end of trashings in the league yet nobody has ever pressed the panic button. Just because a few clubs have bad years, every club goes through it at some point, or a few freak results, is no reason to wreck the GAA within the county but if people did see it as a major problem, it's easily solved: half the number of teams in each division and play each other home and away. That would give a closer standard in each division while only reducing the number of games by one.
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Ogie
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:26 pm

Obviously comes from the heart but misses the point of a club and what it stands for. Winning things while important, is only part of being a member of a club and representing something. You lose that and you lose interest from those that actually do the work within that club. Those that are there just because you are winning, will disappear when the inevitable lull comes and the whole thing collapses like a house of cards. The 50-year member selling 200 lotto tickets a week won't do that for some amalgamation involving a crowd that he has no visceral, deep, emotional and historical attachment to, based on upbringing, service in good times and bad, war wounds suffered in the heat of battle - on the pitch and in the boardrooms. That's what makes a club what it is.

Like I said, you want to be winning but only a few can. You hope to get some good days as a reward but a good day can be seeing a child develop as a person, not to mind a footballer. Seeing them apply something learned in training or passed on in a quiet chat.

The rural club is facing huge challenges and many are struggling and may be forced into amalgamations in time. If it's happening in Kerry, none of us is immune. But I wouldn't be going into one just for the sake of the county team anyway, that's for sure. Or the sake of anyone else, other than my club.
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TommyKeegan
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:20 pm

Ogie wrote:
You hope to get some good days as a reward but a good day can be seeing a child develop as a person, not to mind a footballer. Seeing them apply something learned in training or passed on in a quiet chat.

Weeping over my morning coffee here Ogie. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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shortgrass
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:29 pm

Ogie wrote:
Obviously comes from the heart but misses the point of a club and what it stands for. Winning things while important, is only part of being a member of a club and representing something. You lose that and you lose interest from those that actually do the work within that club. Those that are there just because you are winning, will disappear when the inevitable lull comes and the whole thing collapses like a house of cards. The 50-year member selling 200 lotto tickets a week won't do that for some amalgamation involving a crowd that he has no visceral, deep, emotional and historical attachment to, based on upbringing, service in good times and bad, war wounds suffered in the heat of battle - on the pitch and in the boardrooms. That's what makes a club what it is.

Like I said, you want to be winning but only a few can. You hope to get some good days as a reward but a good day can be seeing a child develop as a person, not to mind a footballer. Seeing them apply something learned in training or passed on in a quiet chat.

The rural club is facing huge challenges and many are struggling and may be forced into amalgamations in time. If it's happening in Kerry, none of us is immune. But I wouldn't be going into one just for the sake of the county team anyway, that's for sure. Or the sake of anyone else, other than my club.

+1
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butterfingers
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:06 am

Ogie wrote:
Obviously comes from the heart but misses the point of a club and what it stands for. Winning things while important, is only part of being a member of a club and representing something. You lose that and you lose interest from those that actually do the work within that club. Those that are there just because you are winning, will disappear when the inevitable lull comes and the whole thing collapses like a house of cards. The 50-year member selling 200 lotto tickets a week won't do that for some amalgamation involving a crowd that he has no visceral, deep, emotional and historical attachment to, based on upbringing, service in good times and bad, war wounds suffered in the heat of battle - on the pitch and in the boardrooms. That's what makes a club what it is.

Like I said, you want to be winning but only a few can. You hope to get some good days as a reward but a good day can be seeing a child develop as a person, not to mind a footballer. Seeing them apply something learned in training or passed on in a quiet chat.

The rural club is facing huge challenges and many are struggling and may be forced into amalgamations in time. If it's happening in Kerry, none of us is immune. But I wouldn't be going into one just for the sake of the county team anyway, that's for sure. Or the sake of anyone else, other than my club.

+ 1 Well put Ogie

Also to call the junior championship in Kildare Rubbish is a very derogatory statement! Yes the number of teams competeing is quite low but all bar one are from rural villages/townlands with very small player catchment areas and who also happen have very large neighbouring clubs to compete with.

Having said that, last years Junior Champions were unlucky to loose a leinster final (beating Intermediate clubs on route) and the previous years junior champions went on to be crowned all Ireland champions.

Not too bad for a rubbish championship.
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HauntedGraffiti
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:37 am

Would be in agreement with Ogie.

Also, I think club football in Kildare is reasonably healthy. The junior and intermediate clubs have a more than respectable record in the Leinster and All Ireland series.

No silverware for a few years senior level but Kildare teams are generally only beaten by strong sides. In 2011, Athy put it up to Garrycastle, who subsequently took one of the greatest club teams ever to a replay in an All Ireland final. And I do think that Athy squad can come back, win another county title and compete strongly in Leinster.

In 2012, Sarsfield were beaten by Ballymun, who lost to a lost-gasp point in the AI. The last couple of years the Kildare champions lost to Portlaoise and Rhode, two traditionally strong clubs.

So I don't think it's crisis point or anything like that.

But still, good post. Fair play for stirring a bit of debate.
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SeamusMurphy
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:21 am

Its Gas that He would Amalgamate Big Clubs Naas, Clane and Larries with others, but not Towers or Monasterevin ?.

Good post Ogie.
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Frankel
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:26 am

SeamusMurphy wrote:
Its Gas that He would Amalgamate Big Clubs Naas, Clane and Larries with others, but not Towers or Monasterevin ?.

Good post Ogie.

There should be another club in Naas if anything to make the best use of the population in the town. Definitely not amalgamate it with another club.
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butterfingers
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:46 am

Sallins is a mile or two from the naas clubhouse Frankel...If anything its Celbridge that would require a new club established. The turnover of footballers and hurlers is huge in the club leaving loads of talented youngsters slip through the gaps. I remember counting over fourty lads togged the year they lost to Towers in the minor.
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Ogie
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:44 am

TommyKeegan wrote:
Ogie wrote:
You hope to get some good days as a reward but a good day can be seeing a child develop as a person, not to mind a footballer. Seeing them apply something learned in training or passed on in a quiet chat.

Weeping over my morning coffee here Ogie. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

Razz Razz Razz
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reichenhall
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:12 am

there is no doubt H S, that Kildare GAA needs a revamp...but for all those guys who played today in the A/D/K Cup Competitions (even though the weather was quite mild for the time of year) to say it's "rubbish upon more rubbish" is an insult to anyone who togged out.....

...amalgamations are usually a necessary evil....but generally only work for a year or so till someone on the commitee gets knocked off kilter or "my lad" gets dropped....
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northernlily
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:55 am

The Kildare SFC needs a serious shake up. Apart from very average by leinster standards Moorfield, Athy, Sarsfields and on their day Celbridge the rest of the clubs are pretty poor and seem to be happy just to stay playing Snr Champo every year. I cant believe some people say everything is alright when its not. 2 Leinster Senior club winners in the last 34 years for supposedly a strong footballing county says so. We are far behind the rest of the pack in Leinster when it comes to the senior football grade. A county with shite loads of mediocre to average clubs.

I'd agree with the OP shake it up a bit and give some of the junior & Inter teams a chance to play some SNR football and they can still play junior & inter championships with their clubs with no stoppages for County football. Outside of the top 4 standards need to be raised and this might indeed be a way of doing it.
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Cilldara_2000
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PostSubject: Re: Start Again   Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:04 pm

northernlily wrote:
The Kildare SFC needs a serious shake up. Apart from very average by leinster standards Moorfield, Athy, Sarsfields and on their day Celbridge the rest of the clubs are pretty poor and seem to be happy just to stay playing Snr Champo every year. I cant believe some people say everything is alright when its not. 2 Leinster Senior club winners in the last 34 years for supposedly a strong footballing county says so. We are far behind the rest of the pack in Leinster when it comes to the senior football grade. A county with shite loads of mediocre to average clubs.

I'd agree with the OP shake it up a bit and give some of the junior & Inter teams a chance to play some SNR football and they can still play junior & inter championships with their clubs with no stoppages for County football. Outside of the top 4 standards need to be raised and this might indeed be a way of doing it.

So would you suggest that the senior championship should be limited to just those 4 teams?

And supposedly "a strong football county"??? In whose opinion is that? No inter county all irelands at any level in 50 years is hardly a strong football county.
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