Are reserve players getting a fair deal?

ARE reserve team players getting a fair deal.

A growing number of them who line out in the respective ‘B’ leagues are voicing their concerns over the lack of regular games and the all county nature of their leagues.

Some concerned players have, in recent months, been suggesting that the plight of reserve players had been forgotten, and stressing that players who had come through the ranks from underage level and just fall short of senior standard had been disguarded.

Some local players have, in extreme circumstances, played one game in eleven weeks and have no idea when the next fixture will take place.

One local player, to whom the ‘Mai’l spoke at a recent underage game said: “You have to feel a bit of sympathy for the reserve team managers who are trying to keep players interested during all of this.”

Although some clubs in Armagh rotate players between their first and second strings, many ‘B’ teams train separately from their club’s senior side but are currently struggling due to lack of games.

Another concern voiced by reserve players is the fact that their leagues take place midweek and are based on an all county structure> Some are of the opinion that the ‘B’ leagues should be staged on a North, Mid and South basis with play-offs deciding the all county winners.

The player added: “When you return from work on a Wednesday night and then have to travel to, for example, the other side of Armagh, you would imagine that it would make more sense to be competing in a north Armagh league.

“It can be difficult, even for senior sides, to travel in midweek but with the ‘B’ structure being less co-ordinated, it would encourage players more if they had games closer to home.”

Whilst the management of reserve sides could be described as somethiing of a poisoned chalice, many reserve managers struggle week after week to give their players a focus, but the lack of regular games is making their task a lot more difficult.

Whilst many would believe that ‘B’ leagues and championships have become a lot more competitive and are played to a better standard than in the past, an increasing number of reserve players are voicing their concerns over the lack of regular matches.