Mayo GAA is introducing a 'Silent Side-Line' initiative for all games up to Under 14 level.

Mayo GAA to introduce 'silent sideline' up to Under 14 level

Mayo GAA is introducing a ‘silent sideline’ for all Under 8, Under 10, Under 12 and Under 14 games for the coming season.

The objective of this initiative is to create a more fun, positive and calm environment where young players are afforded the opportunity to concentrate, make their own decisions, make mistakes without fear of criticism, and learn the game in a natural manner.

With the usual stream of noise eliminated, the young players will have the opportunity to communicate more with one another during the game.

A silent sideline was implemented across all Under 11 fixtures in 2022 and proved a great success.

Mayo GAA Children’s Officer Celia Rattigan believes the silent sidelines will be of great benefit to parents, coaches, referees and players going forward.

She said: “We all know that parents and coaches have the best intentions when they are instructing the children from the sidelines. But such vocal coaching can be very overwhelming for the young player who simply wants to play the game and have fun.

“I have witnessed parents and coaches on the sideline putting huge pressure on children during games. We want to ease this pressure and encourage coaches, parents and supporters to try and not get too emotionally involved in the game.

"We want parents and supporters to still celebrate good play and encourage the children when they do well, so we still want you to clap and cheer them on."

Mayo Bord na nÓg cathaoirleach, Charlie Lambert, is a strong advocate of the approach and believes it will be hugely beneficial for our young footballers and hurlers.

“It will allow the players to make their own decisions, and lets them play the game with freedom, without pressure or fear of criticism,” said Charlie.

“We believe this initiative will help develop the young players' decision making as well as communication skills on the pitch. Developing the skill of decision making is important to nurture from a young age. We are looking to develop the all rounded player, the one who can communicate effectively and problem solve on the pitch.”

Mayo GAA Bord nÒg secretary, Brian O'Malley, has spoken before about the challenges Mayo GAA are facing with the recruitment of referees and claimed this initiative will encourage new referees to come on board and help with the retention of existing ones also.

He stated: “We want to eliminate any negative behaviour towards match officials during our games. We have all witnessed at some stage referees facing criticism from the sidelines. We believe that this initiative will remove any negative behaviour towards our match officials and will serve to benefit Mayo GAA for the future.”

Mayo GAA cathaoirleach, Seamus Tuohy, added: “I greatly welcome this initiative from the Bord na nÓg committee. The silent sideline initiative will address in a positive manner any issues that clubs and officials may be experiencing.

“I am asking all parents, coaches and supporters to embrace this initiative and make it the success it deserves to be.”


The Mayo GAA Silent Side-Line rules and guidance list is as follows:

- One designated coach per team can speak to players, giving positive encouragement and directions during the game

- The designated coach must wear a bib for identification purposes

- A medical person may enter the field of play to attend a player

- All other spectators and management must refrain from directing instructions to the players during play

- Positive clapping and cheering is permitted from all supporters

- Supporters should be assigned to a designated area to watch the game

- No encroachment on to the field of play is permitted

- Enjoy the game