GAA Football

Michael McCann fears for the future of club football due to demands on players

Cargin ace Michael McCann has expressed his fear that the club scene could die away due to the extraordinary demands being placed on players
Picture by Seamus Loughran

FORMER Antrim star Michael McCann says he worries for the future of club football amid the growing demands being placed on GAA players spreading down the food chain.

The 33-year-old Cargin man, who was outstanding for his club against Lámh Dhearg last weekend, stepped away from county football at the end of the 2016 season.

He revealed that he had turned down an approach from Lenny Harbinson last year to rejoin the county panel because of the time commitment involved.

In an ESRI report released last week into the demands of playing inter-county Gaelic football and hurling, it was revealed the average inter-county player is dedicating 31 hours per week to the game.

McCann believes that the effect of such measures being trickled down to the clubs from the inter-county game is turning young players away.

“There are so many players falling by the wayside. Six or seven years ago, our club could have fielded three teams on the same night in different locations around the county.

“See now, there are so many young boys stepping away. They don’t want to be part of the whole three and four nights a week thing. It’s not doing it for them any more.

“If you’re coming in as a player who maybe isn’t at that county level, unless you’re obsessed with football, you’re not going to stick it out.

“I just see so many young boys falling by the wayside, the boys that you thought would come through but over a period between 18 and 21, just gone, they don’t want to commit to it.

“And I can see why. I would be very surprised if every club in the country doesn’t notice player numbers falling.

“I don’t know how long it’ll go on, to be honest. I’m a wee bit worried about where it’s going.

“I’ve no idea, where does it lie for clubs in five years’ time, when four or five of their older fellas now leave? I just don’t know. I just can’t see where the club scene’s going.”

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