Táin Óg - Hurling for the Masses
The Táin Óg hurling competitions are well under way over the last fortnight providing a beacon of hope for underage hurling teams under pressure with numbers.
The Táin Óg competitions have been introduced to provide more meaningful, challenging and varied games for players from counties with a small number of hurling clubs. The competition primarily focuses on the North and North West region. Clubs participate from North Meath across through south Armagh, Monaghan, Leitrim, Longford, Donegal, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry Donegal and Mayo.
The main objective is to give players and teams more games in a sporting and enjoyable atmosphere.
The rules and guidelines from the competition which is coordinated by Martin Fogarty encourages clubs to focus on participation with enjoyment and sportsmanship the key. The guidelines state clearly, ‘While we all like to reach finals and win, winning must take second place to participation. This is real development.
Due to the great variety and experience of participating teams some games especially in the group stages can be unbalanced. The guidance from Martin Fogarty and his team is borne of years coaching youngsters.
“Suffering a big defeat does nothing for the team on the receiving end and indeed does nothing for the team dishing out the beating. If, after ten or fifteen minutes in a game it is obvious that teams are not reasonably balanced then it would be in everyone’s interest if the managers take steps to redress the situation.”
The guidance notes from the competition rules continue:
This is true sportsmanship! If managers have taken such steps to “balance” a game, please inform your coordinator of the real position afterwards so that the information can be used when grading teams for semifinals.
The Groups are formed initially on geography with an effort to have teams from different counties in each group. Grading at this stage is just not possible.
The objective is to give all participating clubs at least four games and where possible, against teams from another county.
Teams will be graded for the Semifinals (Division 1-6) by the committee to the best of their ability. Every effort will be made to match teams of equal ability against each other. This is an impossible task and will never work out perfectly, so cooperation and understanding are essential. Teams performances fluctuate depending on form, players available etc.
Full credit to the organisers led by Martin Fogarty and the participating clubs. We look forward to the competitions progressing and growing.