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6 Important Congress Decisions That Went Unnoticed Amid Super 8 Gate

6 Important Congress Decisions That Went Unnoticed Amid Super 8 Gate
Gavin Cooney
By Gavin Cooney
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Congress slipped into an uncharacteristic frenzy of productivity at the weekend, and dominated the GAA news cycle over the weekend as a result. The main news, of course, is hooked on the rejection of the will of many players: the passing of the Super 8 motion tweaking the quarter-finals to a round-robin format, which the GPA and CPA both opposed, preceded the withdrawing of the motion to formally recognise the CPA. These are huge decisions that will likely be seen as epochal, but by no means were they the only to go before the floor at Croke Park.

There were 56 motions up for decision in total, and here are six of the decisions made that have gone under the radar, but will may prove influential and/or contentious in the months and years ahead.

Motion 28 - Withdrawn before vote 

What the motion stated: This motion, if passed, would allow Galway’s minor, U-21, and intermediate hurling teams to compete in the Leinster provincial championship.

What happened: The motion, having been brought forward by Galway, was withdrawn before going to a vote. The Galway county chairman, Pat Kearney, withdrew the motion having been given assurances that the GAA would work with Galway to solve the issue. Here's what he said on the topic:

We don’t want to be divisive. We hope we’ll be talking with everyone and moving this on together in the next couple of weeks.

Why it may be important: Should Galway not be given a satisfactory outcome on this, it may accelerate their leaving of the Leinster hurling championship, and see them compete in the Munster championship instead. Brian Cody agrees that it is best for hurling if Galway stay in Leinster, a competition in which they have yet to be awarded a home game. This motion was largely expected to be withdrawn, as Croke Park officials seek to work with Galway and Antrim together. The issue behind the fulfilling of the motion comes from the Leinster Council, rather than the GAA: the latter are eager to make it happen, the former less so.

Motion 29 -  Defeated

What the motion stated: This motion, if passed, would replace the All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship with an All-Ireland U-20 Hurling Championship.


What happened: It was proposed by Tipperary, and was defeated 44% to 56%. Cork, Waterford, and Kilkenny all opposed the motion, while Wexford spoke in favour.

Why it may be important: A motion that does no favours for what is at the very least an image problem for the Association: namely that they are ignoring the hurling championships in favour of football. The passing of the Super 8, format, for example, further diminishes the focus on hurling. The football championship now has 12 quarter-finals, the hurling competition has only two. This motion propagates further the idea the GAA are interested only in revamping the football structure: at last year's congress, the U-21 football competition was revised to U-20, primarily to aid issues of player burnout.

Motion 36 - Carried 

What the motion stated: If passed, it will reduce the majority required to change a rule at Congress from two-thirds (66.6%) to three-fifths (60%).


What happened: It passed! Having been proposed by Longford, Down, and Westmeath, the motion was carried 70% to 30%.

Why it may be important: It obviously makes things slightly easier to pass through Congress, so there is the chance that this sterling work will be given retrospective significance should the Champions League-Style Format (TM) squeak through and radicalise the football championship in the future. It is also important as the GAA website preceded the explanation of this motion with the line "This is a very significant motion". But it could have gone further...

Motion 37 - Withdrawn before vote 


What the motion stated: If passed, it will reduce the majority required to change a rule at Congress from two-thirds (66.6%) to a simple majority (more than 50%).


What happened: It was proposed by Tipperary and Leitrim, but was withdrawn before going to the floor, presumably as a response to the previous motion. Which is odd, we would have presumed that the passing of the preceding motion gave this slightly more chance of getting through.

Why it may be important: When the Champions League-Style Format (TM) is brought forward to radicalise the football championship in the future, and it narrowly fails to get the 60% majority, this motion may be imbued with added significance. But we won't hold our breath on either of those counts.

Motion 44 - Carried 

What the motion stated:  If passed, an inter-county player may only have his J1 Sanction to play in the USA/Canada/Australasia/Europe approved after his county has been eliminated from the senior inter-county championship.


What happened: Proposed by USGAA, it breezed through, 96% to 4%.

Why it may be important: It will stem the tide of young inter-county players fecking off after the provincial championships, but prior to the All-Ireland qualifiers. Some would argue that a much better solution for this problem would be to change the fixture lists: counties eliminated early from their provincial championships can be kicking their heels on solid ground and green grass for six summer weeks, strengthening the pull of a trip to the States.

Motion 45 - Defeated

What the motion stated: This motion, if passed, would allow over 16-year-olds to play in adult club competitions. Currently you must be over 17 years old to play in adult club competitions.


What happened: Following hearty debate, the motion proposed by Laois, Kildare, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Tyrone was defeated by 43% to 57%.

Why it may be important: The plight of rural Ireland, amidst emigration both abroad and to Dublin was a key point in the manifestos of the presidents up for election, and this motion was aimed at tackling the problems come counties face in fielding teams at underage level owing to an insufficient number of players. There was some good opposition to the motion, led by former GAA president Liam O'Neill.

Pat Spillane slammed the failure to pass the motion on League Sunday after Congress:

It's the death knell for small, rural clubs who are struggling to field 15 fellas' at adult level.It’s based on spurious grounds. Clubs are not going to be able to field senior teams around the county in rural, peripheral regions in the next couple of years because of this decision.

See Also: GAA Not Yet Finished Meddling With The All Ireland Finals Schedule




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