In a former life I was a primary school teacher. We had lads out hurling literally every day between P.E., lunchtime and after-school training. No GPO will ever replicate that. Ever. Anyway they now appear to be doing less coaching and more organising, whatever that is. We have loads more kids hurling in Dublin but often at a low level, with poor habits, coached by well meaning parents who know little about hurling. For many modern, stressed parents, Rian’s hurling is just something else on the schedule under the fridge-magnet, along with cubs and Eva’s ballet! If these kids do not become proficient at hurling, they will give up. I would suggest that this is what is happening.
Hurling is like no other game. It is the fusion of art and war. It can become addictive but not for kids who are badly coached and never get good enough to really be in flow when they are playing. For kids who are struggling, hurling becomes much more of a chore than football or soccer as the gap with their capable peers widens exponentially as the years go by.
The solution? Get more guys and girls from Dublin into teacher training colleges. Get them scholarships or whatever. Above all, I think teachers should be paid to coach hurling/football. As I have said on here before, greyhounds, horses and listed buildings are treated better than hurling, although is is a central part of our culture. A GPO gets 40k per year. That would give a lot of local teachers a few bob extra. Fact is, kids need to be hurling every day and there is no way around that. When we hear of the problems caused by childhood obesity and addiction to screens, paying teachers extra to do more physical activities like hurling seems like a no brainer all round and money well spent.
We have proved it in Dublin. The GPO system helps with participation levels but not in terms of producing natural hurlers. The evidence is the lack of scoring forwards.
What we are doing therefore needs to change. The powers that be may not like it but who cares. Truth be told, they need a wake up call.