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*Cillian McGroary in action against Gearoid Keane in this year’s Minor A final. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Major changes to the age-groups of GAA underage club teams are to be introduced across the country including Co Clare from 2021.

Clubs in Clare received confirmation from both the underage football and hurling wings of Clare GAA on Thursday night that the changes would come into play next year after the Association received clarification from Croke Park earlier on Thursday.

Association policy now stipulates that counties operate U13, U15, U17 age-grades as “a minimum requirement”. An option to play grades such as U12, U14, U16 and U18 in addition exists provided there is consultation with the Central Games Development Committee. Counties are expected to have one grade above U17 and below adult level.

In a joint statement to clubs, Pat Gavin and Anne Hayes, the respective secretaries of Coiste na nÓg Iomáint and Coiste na nÓg Peil said of the development, “This has come as a huge shock to us in Coiste na nÓg and we will be now asking the County Board to put a structure in place to plan for this change”.

Further information is expected to be issued to clubs in the coming weeks.

Croke Park officials in correspondence to outgoing Clare GAA GDO Sean Chaplin stressed “the option to seek derogation will not exist in 2021”.

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