Home GAA Opinion: Saturday’s Farce Should Be The Last Straw For Current U-21 Structure

Opinion: Saturday’s Farce Should Be The Last Straw For Current U-21 Structure

On Saturday evening, Limerick emerged victorious in the All-Ireland semi-final against Galway in a thrilling encounter.

The game ended with a four-point victory for the Treaty men on a scoreline of 2-23 to 2-19, with Barry Nash and Aaron Gillane playing well throughout for Limerick.

For Galway, their senior star Conor Whelan played well, as did Jack Coyne who looks like a future star. Unfortunately for the Tribesmen, their efforts were not enough though.

However, one wonders if it’s really a surprise that Limerick overcame Galway to reach the All-Ireland final, as this is a Limerick side with a lot of hype and potential. Although talk is cheap, this hype is warranted.

This is a Limerick team that has gained u-21 Munster silverware after beating Tipperary, Clare and Cork along the way.

The three competitive games that they played previously in the Munster Championship would have undoubtedly stood to them.

If comparing that to Galway, they had no competitive games and despite the number of training sessions one team can do, they can never compare to championship matches.

Albeit, the hype surrounding this Limerick team is due to the calibre of players on the panel such as Cian Lynch, Peter Casey and Tom Morrissey so it is no surprise that the Treaty men emerged victorious in this evening’s game. To put it into perspective, the Limerick u-21 team entered this game against Galway at massive 1/6 favourites with the majority of major Irish bookmakers.

Like previous years, games like Saturday’s that prove that the u-21 championship is in dire need of a total restructure despite the uniqueness and history of the competition.

The straight knock-out concept brings a hidden taste and creates an electric atmosphere for the u-21 championship, but when there’s one team already automatically in the All-Ireland semi-final without playing a game it devalues the competition as a whole.

Similarly, when another team can recklessly overcome a side by 52 points in an All-Ireland semi-final it’s evident that there needs to be something done to maintain interest in this competition.

Although the Kilkenny v Limerick u-21 All-Ireland final is sure to be an epic encounter with Limerick out to avenge their minor final loss from three years ago, it’s the bigger picture that needs to be addressed.

Jason Redmond, Pundit Arena. 


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