Louth GAA’s underage season was a major success as 29 clubs were represented in finals from U12 to U17



There are those who questioned the wisdom of Louth GAA’s minor fixtures’ committee organizing competitions for both even and uneven ages throughout the season, from U12 through to U17.

layer burnout and injury increases were cited as issues, but what it did do was guarantee that a young lad’s ratio of games to training was a lot more even. Players always learn more while playing matches and it was important that Louth began to give teens are many matches in the GAA code as what the rival soccer bodies do.

This was achieved and the results are hugely impressive. Minor Board chairman Kevin Gordon was on record during the year regarding the volume of clubs who reached deciders and how, with finals being played away from Darver at various stages of the term, the crowds attending were huge.

Indeed, minor secretary Anthony Briscoe alluded to a recent pair of U16 finals (Division 1 and 3) at the last County Board meeting, suggesting that the underage program has been a major success and pointing out that the aforementioned showpieces each went to extra-time. and involved fever pitch atmospheres. Just the occasions you want developing players to experience.

Combination teams dominating the roll of honor has been a serious issue in Louth over the past decade, but this has relatively subsided in the past 12 months, which is a positive sign and an indication of the work clubs are now putting in to maintain their independence .

Of the 25 finals that have taken place under the ruling of the Minor Board, only two were all-combination affairs – in the U16 Division 2 (Mattock Rangers/Hunterstown Rovers overcame St Bride’s/St Mochta’s) and U15 Division 2 (Baile Talún pipped Wolfe Tones/O Raghallaighs) grades.

There were 14 entities who won either league or championship titles, with 21 of the 25 competitions being won by single clubs. Nineteen different entities contested the finals, with 19 fielding on their own. That means there were just four combination champions and a half-dozen who came second.

In terms of the most prolific winners, there are four clubs who won three titles – Ardee St Mary’s (U17 A championship, U17 Division 1, U15 Division 1), Newtown Blues (U15 A championship, U14 Division 3, U13 Division 2), Naomh Máirtín (U14 Division 2, U13 A championship, U13 Division 1) and St Nicholas (U13 B championship, U13 Division 3, U12 Division 4).

In total, 29 of Louth’s 38 clubs were represented in an underage final – 19 on their own, with six combinations (some of these combinations included clubs who also contested a final on their own).

In terms of the two major towns’ involvement, all five Drogheda clubs qualified for at least one final – Blues, O Raghallaighs, Tones and Nicks managed it independently, while Oliver Plunkett’s were with Tones for their U15 league final.

Dundalk has proved to be far less successful this year. Sean O’Mahony’s, Na Piarsaigh Blackrock, Dowdallshill and Dundalk Young Irelands were combined at various levels, but the closest they came to a decider was at the U16 Division 3 grade, where they went down after extra-time in the semi-final.

Of the six urban clubs in the north of the county, only two – Dundalk Gaels (U17 A championship, U17 Division 2) and Clan na Gael (U13 Division 1) – got to appear on the center stage.

Conclusions? Well, there are clearly issues in Dundalk, but that’s not a new thing. Overall, however, it’s arguably been the strongest year for underage football in quite some time and undoubtedly a contributory factor towards the development squads’ apparent improvement.

Having attended nine of the 25 showpieces personally, this reporter was hugely impressed by both the organization and skill involved. Credit is due to the clubs who are working so evidently hard and to the Minor Board, Gordon and Briscoe in particular. The even and odd ages blitz should remain in place.

U17 A CHAMPIONSHIP

W: Ardee St Mary’s

R: Dundalk Gaels

U17 B CHAMPIONSHIP

W: Glen Emmetts

R: Naomh Fionnbarra

U17 Division 1

W: Ardee St Mary’s

R: Newtown Blues

U17 Division 2

W: Dundalk Gaels

R: St Joseph’s

U17 Division 3

W: Baile Talun, replay

R: Dreadnots

U16 Division 1

W: St Fechin’s, AET

R: St Joseph’s

U16 Division 2

W: Mattock Rangers/Hunterstown Rovers

R: St Bride’s/St Mochta’s

U16 Division 3

W: Kilkerley Emmets/Naomh Malachi, AET

R: Roche Emmets

U15 A CHAMPIONSHIP

W: Newtown Blues, replay

R: Ardee St Mary’s

U15 B CHAMPIONSHIP

W: St Fechin’s

R: Kilkerley Emmets/Naomh Malachi

U15 Division 1

W: Ardee St Mary’s

R: Cooley Kickhams

U15 Division 2

W: Baile Talun

R: Wolfe Tones/Oliver Plunkett’s

U15 Division 3

W: O Raghallaighs

R: Mattock Rangers/Hunterstown Rovers

U14 Division 1

W: St Patrick’s

R: Naomh Fionnbarra

U14 Division 2

W: Naomh Mairtín

R: O Raghallaighs

U14 Division 3

W: Newtown Blues

R: Geraldines

U13 A CHAMPIONSHIP

W: Naomh Mairtín

R: Glen Emmetts

U13 B CHAMPIONSHIP

W: St Nicholas

R: Wolfe Tones

U13 Division 1

W: Naomh Mairtín

R: Clan na Gael

U13 Division 2

W: Newtown Blues, replay

R: O’Connell’s/Stabannon Parnells

U13 Division 3

W: St Nicholas

R: Baile Talun

U12 Division 1

W: Glyde Rangers

R: Glen Emmetts

U12 Division 2

W: St Joseph’s

R: Roche Emmets

U12 Division 3

W: St Patrick’s

R: Kilkerley Emmets/Naomh Malachi

U12 Division 4

W: St Nicholas

R: Lannléire

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