NINE underage players from Barryoe GAA Club are waiting to hear if they will be allowed transfer out of the club.
This is a situation that has been brewing since the latter part of 2019 and centres around the amalgamation of Barryroe GAA Club and Argideen Rangers GAA Club who come together under Ibane Gaels at U14, U16, minor and U21.
The two clubs joined forces to form Ibane Gaels in 2012 after a lack of numbers in both clubs.
Amalgamations are given the green light when it’s deemed that there are insufficient numbers of players at clubs – but a petition sent to Barryroe GAA from parents of 2020 U14 players claim that the club has enough U14 players (35) to enter its own team this year.
Nine underage players have applied to transfer out of the club. Those transfer requests were turned down by the county board, but they are being appealed. The players are waiting to hear the findings of their appeals.
These nine underage players have applied to transfer to other local clubs – Newcestown, Bandon and Clonakilty. If their appeals are rejected, they will sit out 48 weeks before transferring out of Barryroe. They’re prepared to do so, according to one parent.
When contacted by The Southern Star for a comment about this ongoing issue, Barryroe declined, replying that the club ‘will be offering no comment on this matter.’
This issue came to light in September 2019 when an U16 Barryroe player wrote a letter to his club, highlighting concerns he ‘and 18 other members of Barryroe GAA Club who are presently members of Ibane Gaels’ had with the lack of game time Barryroe players were receiving with Ibane Gaels.
This is central to what’s going on as a number of young Barryroe players were very unhappy about their lack of game time with Ibane Gaels.
‘Unfortunately, in the current Ibane system a lot of Barryroe players are quite unhappy. For us, the main issue is the lack of game time us Barryroe boys are receiving,’ the letter said.
‘Unfortunately, either by accident or design, the Ibane bench is consistently made up of Barryroe players. There are times on the U16 panel (my team) where the number of us Barryroe players on the bench can exceed ten players, many of us 16 years. The Barryroe representatives on the Ibane management can confirm this.
‘Furthermore they can confirm the forfeiting of the U16 B team championships in both codes, which has ensured that some of us will get no game time in the 2019 championship.
‘As a direct result of what I have outlined above, a number of players have indicated that they no longer feel that there’s a valid place for them in the club under the present structure and won’t be returning to GAA next season.’
The letter goes on to say, ‘we all conclude that the only way forward for us is the formation of a Barryroe team for the 2020 minor season, a completely separate entity to the Ibane Gaels minor team.’
There has also been a petition to Barryroe GAA Club from parents of the club’s U14s – signed by 23 parents – that asked for one year of a Barryroe U14 team on its own.
‘We speak only on behalf of our own group of U14s and we do not wish to influence any decisions made by the club with regard to other age groups. We are absolutely not anti the Ibane amalgamation and we know that it is necessary at times when numbers are inadequate,’ the petition said.
These parents have questioned the need for the on-going amalgamation based on registered numbers.
A document seen by The Southern Star, titled ‘Barryroe-Timoleague Amalgamation leaves a group of children out in the cold’, claims, ‘On county board rules Barryroe have registered for 2020 the following players – 31 players at U21s, 40 players at U18, 38 players at U16s and 35 at U14s.’
The Southern Star contacted the Cork County Board for a comment last Friday but at the time of print had yet to receive a reply.
It’s also understood that Barryroe GAA Club voted 7-6 in favour of continuing with the amalgamation after a discussion at an executive meeting.
This isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, especially all the young players involved.
‘All these players want is to play for their own parish when we have the numbers, we just want to play for our own club,’ one parent told The Southern Star.
‘When we have the numbers, we can’t understand why the county board are granting amalgamations and why our own executive would want it.
‘There are players being left behind.’