Soccer game

Offaly U14 footballers left behind after missing training for football match

Four of the Under-14s from Offaly’s football team were dropped out after taking part in a football match last Saturday.

The Offaly Express Report that all four players were dropped from the U14 squad after missing a training session with the county football team to play for Edenderry FC against Shamrock Rovers.

Offaly GAA: U14 footballers removed from squad after taking part in football match against Shamrock Rovers

Offaly’s U14 football team is mired in controversy, after four of its players were sacked this week.

The four players in question played for Edenderry FC in a game against Shamrock Rovers in the quarter-final of the SFAI U14 National Cup on Saturday April 2. The players came from Rhode GAA and Edenderry GAA clubs, and missed a training session with the Offaly U14s. to play soccer.

The days of players being banned from participating in GAA events for playing “foreign games” are long gone.

The Offaly Express report suggests the players weren’t sacked for playing football. The reason was actually that they missed a crucial training session, which U20 All-Ireland winning manager Declan Kelly was in attendance at.

It was Kelly himself who gave the news to the players’ parents on Saturday morning, and the clubs were notified on Monday.

Speaking to the Offaly Express, one of the parents in question said:

To say that all the boys and their parents were devastated is an understatement.

My son was absolutely thrilled to be chosen. He loves football and plays with the Rhode U15s. At no point were they told they couldn’t play another sport as part of Offaly’s development team. These young guys are striving to make this Offaly sign.

One of the parents said attendance forms were completed in advance, but Offaly’s U14 code of conduct states that training sessions must be attended on time by all players.

In a statement to the Express, Offaly GAA said:

A fundamental aspect of our development team pathway program is that team players must commit to attending our practices and games.

The primary aim of Offaly GAA is to promote Gaelic games in Offaly with many dedicated volunteers working very hard to promote participation and improve skill levels at our clubs whilst raising the standards of play at county level.

We imagine the reaction to this controversy within Offaly GAA is not over yet, and it will be fascinating to see if the decision is ultimately overturned.

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