Friday 24 March 2017

We will soon be seeing a 'mark' in Gaelic football following vote in Congress

Ard Stiúrthóir Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Páraic Ó Dufaigh during the GAA Annual Congress
Ard Stiúrthóir Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Páraic Ó Dufaigh during the GAA Annual Congress
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A ‘mark’ is to be introduced in Gaelic football next year. It was approved on a 68-32 per cent vote after Jarlath Burns, chairman of the Playing Rules Committee, made an impressive case.

From 2017 on, a player who catches the ball cleanly outside the ‘45’ metre line from a kick-out will be entitled to call a ‘mark’ and take a free kick. Alternatively, he can continue to play on.

The only expressed objections to the ‘mark’ came from Cork, who wanted further trials. They also argued that it would slow the game down.

Meanwhile, an attempt to bring forward the All-Ireland senior hurling and football finals by two weeks has failed at Congress.

A proposal by Central Council that the hurling final be played on the second last Sunday in August, followed by the football final on the first Sunday in September won on a 61-39 per cent majority but required two thirds (66.6 per cent) to change the rule.

GAA Director, Paraic Duffy spoke in favour of the proposal, arguing that it would greatly enhance the club scene as it offered two extra weeks for championship action.

Dublin CEO, John Costello also backed it but strong opposition was mounted by Galway, Cork and Kilkenny.

They contended that the earlier dates would have a negative impact on the GAA from a promotional viewpoint as it would end the championship season two weeks earlier that usual. They also claimed that it would bring no great benefit to  clubs.

“September is Gaelic Games month in Ireland - we should keep it that way,” said Cork’s Tracey Kennedy.

The motion arose from the discussion paper on player burnout  and club fixture difficulties, prepared by Paraic Duffy.

A call to make extra-time obligatory in all drawn championship games, except All-Ireland and provincial finals, was rejected. It won a simple majority (58-42 per cent), falling short by nine per cent of two-third majority required to change the rule.

The All-Ireland intermediate hurling championships are to continue after a proposal to scrap them was beaten by the narrowest of margins. It got a 65-35 per cent majority, falling just short of a two-thirds majority. The All-Ireland junior football championship also survived, with a motion calling for its abolition failing by six per cent.

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