Joe Canning says Galway getting to play in the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship is "huge" for player development. At GAA Congress in February, a motion was passed allowing the Tribesmen's minor team to play in Leinster like their U20 and senior hurling sides.
"You go back to last year. We played Clare in the round robin quarter-final stages and they had played four or five games before they even met us," Canning, who is in his second year as a coach with the Galway minors, said at the launch of RTÉ's GAA Championships coverage.
"I think they played seven or eight games last year. We played three. So to compare that development what those Clare minors had last year compared to our minors, it’s totally different."
'Sometimes the GAA just doesn't make any sense'
While playing in Leinster is positive, Canning has found another negative.
"It’s funny, you see one good thing - us getting into Leinster - and then you see a bad thing," he continued.
"I don’t know if you know this but if you are under-16 now and you play minor, you are not allowed to play under-16 with your county after that.
"It’s the under-20/senior thing like last year that they rectified this year and then they go and introduce this.
"Under-16s are playing under-17 and maybe they get brought on as a sub for two minutes. They are not allowed to play in their under-16 championship for the rest of the year - even though it is not overlapping at all. The under-16 championship is on after the minor.
"Just beggars belief that we are trying to develop players and they are held back from actually playing games. We only found that out last week before the first round of the Championship against Antrim.
"It is actually very unfair on the players that are trying to push and get on the team, get on the 26. It is no good to have a player 16-years-of-age, maybe a sub and getting five minutes hurling for the entire summer. Why can’t he go back to the under-16s when it is on after the minor.
"Sometimes the GAA just doesn't make any sense whatsoever to me, and that is one of the maddest decisions. If you compared that to the under-20s and seniors last year and everybody though it was madness, this is even worse again."
The Galway minors have won both their games in this year's championship, defeating Laois and Antrim. On Good Friday, they face Kilkenny at Nowlan Park. The winner will top the group, and progress straight to the provincial semi-finals.
"We're travelling a lot," said Canning.
"We were in Darver there two weeks ago, we were in Portlaoise there on Saturday, and we're in Kilkenny on Friday. It's a lot of travel but it's brilliant for the lads. They are getting to experience big match days, travel on a bus together for a big day out, and get competitive games, and develop them that way.
"We only found out in February that we were allowed in [Leinster]. There was a short enough time to get lads. A good few of our lads were playing with the colleges up to the week before championship - the colleges final with Athenry against St Kierans. We had a lot of guys involved in that.
"You don't get too much prep time with all the squad together. The last two weeks have been really good with the performances and results."