Galway GAA prepares for return of underage football

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Galway GAA has welcomed this week’s announcement of a timeframe for the return of underage football to the field.

In the past week non-contact underage training in pods of up to 15 people has been allowed to resume, bringing huge numbers of young people back to football pitches once again.

The latest announcement on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has stated that matches will be allowed to resume from June 7 onwards.

“The sight for the first time this year of the participation of on field activity for our underage players was a hugely welcome development for all involved in Galway GAA,” a statement from Galway GAA read.

Competition structures and fixtures for the coming juvenile season starting in June are being finalised by Coiste Peil Na nÓg.

“The resumption of underage football in Galway GAA and indeed nationally will see a change to the system in line with a Croke Park directive in relation to underage grades.”

“In 2021 the primary competitions shall see Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 as our championship grades with Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 as our developmental leagues.”

When matches do resume next month, it is currently planned that the Under 13 championship will take place on Tuesday evenings, the Under 15s will be on Friday evenings, and the Under 12 developmental leagues going ahead on Sunday mornings.

The Under 14 and Under 16 developmental leagues will begin after the others have taken place.

“The shorter Football calendar in 2020 due to the Covid restrictions and the later start in 2021 has certainly wetted the appetite of underage footballers throughout the county with a signification increase from clubs with the player numbers and teams affiliated for 2021.”

“The increase in numbers will see Coiste Peil Na nÓg catering for 60 Under 12 teams, 62 Under 13 teams, 50 Under 14 teams, 50 Under 15 teams, 42 Under 16 teams with the Under 17 competition under the governance of the Galway Adult Football Committee.”

“Once a date is set for the resumption of fixtures Coiste Peil fixtures secretary John Hegarty will structure our proposed gradings and groups that will be shared with the Galway GAA club juvenile secretaries.”