Senator calls for 'half game rule' for youth and social sports

It would mean that players "get at least a half a game of pitch time"

Senator calls for 'half game rule' for youth and social sports

Neale Richmond. Photo:

There's a call to introduce a 'half game rule' for sports at youth and social level.

A Fine Gael senator believes it would mean players wouldn't be left on the sidelines for an entire match.

The GAA currently recommends that substitutes in youth games - up to Under 11s - should play a minimum of a full half in each game. 

However, Senator Neale Richmond believes the GAA and other sporting organisations here should extend the measures and follow the lead of international groups.

He observed: "It's something that's been working in New Zealand and Wales for the past three years - primarily in rugby, but they're also branching it out into other sports.

"It's to look at participation... We see an awful lot of drop off in people playing team sports once they hit 18. If [players] knew that after training, if they can guarantee that they'll get half a game, it makes it so much easier to keep people involved."

Senator Richmond claims that players who give up their free time and pay subscription or match fees should expect 'a decent bit' of pitch time in return.

He added: “For a young sportsman or woman, there is nothing worse than training hard and giving up a Saturday afternoon or a Wednesday evening to tog out for a match, only to find themselves sitting on the bench for the whole game or only getting a token run for the last five minutes.

“While of course there is tactical merit to this at an elite level, surely the same can’t be said for the social or underage levels, where the focus should really be about participation, inclusion and enjoyment."