Roscommon Under 20 football manager Shane Curran feels that Under 20 players should concentrate on their own grade first and after that if they are good enough play for the seniors.
Speaking on this week’s Super8s podcast Curran said: “The first port of call has got to be the age group that they play; prove themselves at that level and then when they have done two/three years maybe at it, certainly one or two that they progress then into a senior set-up where their talents allow them progress further.”
Offaly footballer Cian Johnson had been in the spotlight lately due to a ruling in his county that players eligible for Under 20s would play at that level, only. He missed out on his side’s Leinster Senior Championship defeat to Wicklow earlier this month. Curran said: “There are obviously some talents who are really good at 19 or 20 but I still think they should be protected in terms of their abilities to play with the senior squad.”
Curran acknowledged the working relationship he has with Roscommon Senior manager Kevin McStay and his understanding of allowing players focus on their own grade: “I’m very fortunate enough to work with Kevin (McStay) and he’s taken a very strong stance and common sense approach to it; if you are an Under 20 player you play with your Under 20s. If you are good enough then to play with the seniors thereafter you play with the seniors.”
The former Roscommon goalkeeper believes being reliant on too many Under 20 players says a lot about a county’s development of players: “I don’t think it’s fair maybe in some counties, just because you put a player on the bench he misses out then on his Under 20 competition. I think that’s very unfair. I think if counties are reliant on a crop or a large number of Under 20s to play senior inter-county football well then I think there is something remarkably wrong in the county in terms of developing players.”
Curran admitted there are a number of issues with the new Under 20 competition that the GAA need to look at when it is finished: “There are a number of issues after cropping up with the Under 20 competition that need to be addressed and I think they will be addressed after it’s finished this year. There should be uniformities with the competition in terms of whether it’s round-robin or knock-out right across the provinces. That should come from Croke Park.”