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New report on 'overwhelmed' student GAA players makes for concerning reading

‘Problem period’ in GAA calendar leading to academic, financial and personal pressure.

Image: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

HALF OF STUDENT inter-county GAA players feel ‘overwhelmed’ by their commitments, according to new findings released by the Gaelic Players Association today.

A massive 88% of these top third-level athletes take place in four or more training sessions a week as they juggle responsibilities with their county, club and college.

The pressure is negatively affecting the time available for academic work, family and friends, as well as leading to financial difficulty in over half of cases.

The Never Enough Time report wants to shine a light on the “problem period” at the start of the year where the beginning of the senior inter-county season clashes with underage and colleges competitions.

Among the proposals suggested are changing of the U21 grade to U20 in football and in hurling, removing of colleges from pre-season inter-county competitions, and restructuring colleges competitions so that games don’t fall on consecutive days.

“While we are focussing on the specific difficulties many of our student county players face during their college years, the intention with this work is to encourage a collaborative approach to sorting out these difficulties,” GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell said.

We believe that by tackling issues like overlapping competition structures we will be lifting a significant burden off the shoulders of these young players who are committed to managing a difficult dual career between sport and studies.

“However, compromise will be essential to solve the crux and we hope that the student report will encourage moves to initiate the necessary changes.”

You can download the report in full here >

Originally published at 15.58

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