Development squads offer more than those on outside may think

Participants in the Hike Hungry Hill fundraiser for Kieran O’Connor, the former Aghada and Cork senior footballer who is battling Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Picture: Anne Marie Cronin

I got a phone call during the week from a father whose son was involved in a football development squad up the country. He described his young lad as being ‘lean and scrawny’ but a good footballer who was playing multiple different sports. He sounded like your typical active teenager.

Basically, he was looking to get my perspective on how other counties ran their academies because his son wasn’t progressing as quickly as he thought he would. He was referring primarily to his physical development and he thought the strength and conditioning side of the development squads would ‘bulk him up’ quicker. It was a real eye-opener.

When John Horan took over as president of the association last year, he wanted to look at the whole area around these squads, and there is a national review concluding at the moment which examined different aspects of how counties run their academies.

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