Former minor dual star Seamus Kennedy has played senior hurling and football for Tipperary

Dual minors had better chance of progressing at senior level for Tipperary

By Shane Brophy

Players who played both minor hurling and football for Tipperary had a greater chance of progressing onto play at senior level.

With the issue of underage players being allowed to develop in both hurling and football a live one, the Nenagh Guardian looked to undertake a study from the six years from 2010 to 2015 when dual players were allowed in the minor grade.

The study found that of the 33 players who represented Tipperary in both hurling and football at minor level, 19 (58%) have so far gone on to play either senior hurling or senior football for Tipperary.

Ten of those players have played both made a senior hurling and football panel at some stage subsequently; Seamus Kennedy, Liam Treacy, Bill Maher, John Meagher, Colin O’Riordan, Steven O’Brien, Paul Maher (Kilsheelan/Kilcash), Willie Connors, Paudie Feehan and Colin English

Four of those dual minors (Niall O’Meara, John McGrath, Mark Kehoe, Dylan Fitzelle) have gone onto play senior hurling only, while five have played senior football only (Josh Keane, Ross Mulcahy, Emmet Moloney, Liam Fahey, Stephen Quirke), leaving fourteen dual minor players (42%) that didn’t go onto play at senior level at all.

58% is a very high percentage and certainly indicates that pursuing both codes at minor level didn’t inhibit their chances of playing at senior level, in fact it benefitted it.

With the new GAA calendar set to propose the inter-county minor hurling and football championships to be run concurrent to one another, accommodating dual players will be almost impossible. However, the figures do indicate that the more players that are allowed to play both codes at development squad level (up to under 16), the greater the chance they have of progressing to play either senior hurling or football, even if they have to prioritise one code at minor level, as the under 20 grades will have separate windows in the calendar which would allow for dual players at that level once again.

Senior progression

In a further breakdown of the figures, 129 players (including dual) have been part of Tipperary minor hurling panels from 2010 to 2015, from which just 15 (11%) have gone onto play senior championship hurling up to last year, while another 30 (23%) have been part of the senior hurling panel, leaving 85 (67%) that didn’t go onto senior level.

Fifteen players going onto play championship over the past decade does seem a poor return for a hurling first county such as Tipperary, which goes to show how hard it is to progress onto play at the highest level. It also provides further evidence of just how good the minor cohort from the 2006 & 2007 All-Ireland winning teams, that have backboned the senior panel over the last decade, have been where the younger brigade haven’t been good enough to take their places on the team.

The retention rate in Gaelic football from minor to senior was slightly higher where of the 129 players (including dual) who played minor from 2010 to 2015, 27 (21%) have gone onto play senior championship football so far, while another 22 (16%) have made a senior football panel at some point, leaving 84 players (65%) who didn’t go onto play at senior level.

Now some players have crossed over to the senior hurlers and back, but have 35% of minor players tasting some level of senior football is very high indeed, particularly when you take the 2011 All-Ireland Minor winning panel where of that 31-man panel, 16 players have played senior football at some point or other over the past decade and it would have been one more with John McGrath likely to easily have played senior inter-county football if he hadn’t made such an impact with the hurlers.

Dual Minors who made a Tipperary Senior Hurling & Football panel (10)

Seamus Kennedy

Liam Treacy

Bill Maher

John Meagher

Colin O’Riordan

Steven O’Brien

Paul Maher (Kilsheelan/Kilcash)

Willie Connors

Paudie Feehan

Colin English

Dual Minors who made a Senior Hurling panel only (4)

Niall O’Meara

John McGrath

Dylan Fitzelle

Mark Kehoe

Dual Minors who made a Senior Football panel only (5)

Josh Keane

Ross Mulcahy

Emmet Moloney

Liam Fahey

Stephen Quirke

Dual Minors who did not progress to play Senior Hurling or Football (9)

Darren Cass

Jack Loughnane

Jack Shelly

Jimmy Maher

Lorcan Egan

Ross Peters

Gavin Ryan

Jack Skehan

Michael Connors

Minor Hurlers that have progressed to play Senior Championship Hurling (15)

Cathal Barrett

Dan McCormack

Jason Forde

Joe O’Dwyer

John McGrath

Niall O’Meara

Seamus Kennedy

Barry Heffernan

Michael Breen

Ronan Maher

Brian Hogan

Willie Connors

Mark Kehoe

John Meagher

Dillon Quirke

Minor Hurlers that played National League and/or made Senior Hurling panel (30)

Aidan McCormack

Daire Quinn

Justin Cahill

Liam McGrath

Liam Treacy

Tommy Heffernan

Bill Maher

Conor Hammersley

Tomas Hamill

Colin O’Riordan

Dylan Fitzelle

Mark McCarthy

Paul Maher (Moyne-Templetuohy)

Seanie Nally

Sean Ryan

Tom Fox

Andrew Coffey

David Sweeney

Jason Ryan

Paul Maher (Kilsheelan/Kilcash)

Mark Russell (played minor football)

Paul Shanahan (played minor football)

Paudie Feehan

Colin English

Robert Byrne

Brian McGrath

Cian Darcy

Killian O’Dwyer

James Quigley

Alan Tynan

Minor Hurlers that did not progress to play Senior Hurling (72)

Minor Footballers that have progressed to play Senior Championship Football (27)

Billy Hewitt

Bill Maher

Donough Leahy

Liam Boland

Liam McGrath

Liam Treacy

Shane Leahy

Colin O’Riordan

Colman Kennedy

Evan Comerford

Ian Fahey

Jason Lonergan

Michael Quinlivan

Seamus Kennedy

Steven O’Brien

Jimmy Feehan

Kevin Fahey

Padraic Looram

Colin O’Riordan

Emmet Moloney

Liam Casey

Shane O’Connell

Willie Connors

Colm O’Shaughnessy

Jack Kennedy

Paudie Feehan

Tadhg Fitzgerald

Minor Footballers that played National League and/or made Senior Football panel (22)

John O’Callaghan

Paddy Dalton

Dean Lonergan

Gearoid Slattery

Greg Henry

Philip Quirke

Sean Flynn

Luke Boland

Tom Kirwan

Tommy Nolan

Liam Fahey

Stephen Quirke

Liam Ryan

Brendan Martin

Ben Hyland

Gavin Whelan

Paul Shanahan

Jody Sheehan

Tommy Lowry

Colin English

Joseph Nyland

Conor O’Sullivan

Minor Footballers that did not progress to Senior Level (67)

More from this Topic