McDonnell - 'We cannot have two seasons going on'

Controversy surrounds the start of the U14 national league

Mervue United’s Declan McDonnell is calling on the Football Association of Ireland to implement the same season for all competitions to assist young players and clubs.

The SSE Airtricity League mens and womens senior league and national underage leagues are played in the one calendar year. Locally across the country seasons generally commence in September and conclude in June, but McDonnell wants it to be standardised.

“I was on two committees of the FAI at the time, Ruud Dokter made a presentation to us, he said no more than three players from one club could go during the season,” McDonnell says.

“Two years ago Mervue lost nine players from one team in the middle of the season in January. That is not right. Either the FAI come down to say football is summer or football is winter, but we cannot have two seasons going on.”

At U14 level the national league has officially been delayed for a number of months, but an unofficial competition is being organised. “I think it is very disheartening and I think the FAI haven't got it right,” McDonnell says. “The carry on at the moment with the U14 situation, the FAI Board as an example decided that the U14 would not start until after the Kennedy Cup.

“The league that is being organised is an illegal league, but the FAI won't come out to say that. They hide behind rulebooks. This is about the development of young people.”

McDonnell also believes that a national competition should be provided at U21 or U23 level to assist footballers breaking through to the senior ranks.

“One of the things they need to do is to have an U23 or an U21,” he adds. “At 19 players are being lost to football, they give it up because they think they are a failure. It is a huge gap.”

**Listen to the full interview with Declan McDonnell on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

 

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