Should Ireland Put a Greater Focus on Grassroots Football than Traditional Irish Sports?

Galway v Dublin hurling 2022
Galway v Dublin hurling 2022

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During the World Cup in Qatar, an interesting fact started to spread around the internet.

Croatia has a population of 3.263 million and regularly manages to put forward a team that challenges into the latter stages of the top tournaments. Ireland has a larger population of more than five million people but has only appeared in the ultimate football tournament on three occasions.

With Ireland having a much larger population, surely it should have more professional footballers to choose from when putting a squad together. However, this isn’t the case. It could be that the country is putting too great a focus on GAA sports when more should be done to promote football and develop a team capable of challenging in the future.

GAA Sports Aren’t Well-KnownInternationally

Traditional Irish sports are great, and there’s no doubt that Ireland should keep pushing these games to boost their popularity. If organisations in the country don’t want to focus on building a competitive national football team set up for the future, they should put more effort into helping GAA sports get more international recognition.

The problem that Irish sports face in gaining spectators outside of Ireland is that a lot of people in other countries simply don’t know about them. The GAA could turn to the entertainment industry to boost their notoriety, and a new docuseries on Netflix or Amazon could be an excellent idea.

Another option would be to turn to online gaming and get more officially licensed products in that sector. Online mobile casinos have loads of Irish-themed games already, with Irish Luck being one of the top slots out there. It features typical imagery associated with the Emerald Isle, including lots of green, and can be played on any mobile device. Games about hurling or Gaelic football wouldn’t look out of place in these lists, and it’s something that should be considered. If Irish sports aren’t going to be pushed internationally, the country should do more to compete on the world stage in sports that are played globally like football.

How Can Ireland Build its Football Infrastructure?

There are numerous ways that Ireland could improve its football infrastructure and build for a better future in the sport. This would all stem from increased funding. For instance, the government could provide financial support for grassroots clubs and larger teams, helping them to develop talent at youth level. There could also be investment in marketing and other initiatives to boost football’s popularity.

To develop top players, Ireland will also need amazing coaches. Therefore, putting together a comprehensive coaching development system would be highly beneficial. This could involve implementing a nationwide coaching education program and establishing a network of youth academies to identify and develop talented young tacticians.

Promoting and supporting women’s football is another option that could lead to fruitful results down the line. Encouraging more girls and women to play football could help cultivate the success of the sport as a whole. The growth of the women’s game is skyrocketing, with commercial revenue increasing by 33 per cent each year. Now is the time to get involved in the action.

If Ireland isn’t going to push its own sports internationally and boost their appeal outside of the country, it needs to do other things to compete on the world stage. Developing a better infrastructure around football in the country could lead to more success for the national team in the future.

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