Thursday 22 March 2018

President calls for end to replays

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

NEXT year's GAA club programme could face decimation in some counties unless extra-time is restored in early round provincial championships, All-Ireland qualifiers and quarter-finals that finish level.

That's according to GAA president Christy Cooney, who wants replays removed from those games.

Tomorrow week's Central Council meeting will consider bringing a motion to Congress next April, urging that a decision taken by the same body seven months ago be overturned. It proposed reintroducing replays for provincial games (up to quarter-finals), All-Ireland qualifiers and quarter-finals.

"As it is, counties have challenges with club games when they come through the qualifiers. Replays would add to the problem," said Cooney.

Revenue lost through using extra-time was crucial in swaying the Congress vote in favour of the restoration of replays and it remains to be seen how counties will react to being asked to rescind a decision without applying it for one season.

It's another example of a Congress judgment coming under pressure, leading to questions as to how the GAA's supreme governing body operates.

"Sometimes when motions come at the end of a Congress, a vote takes place and probably people don't think it through very seriously," said Cooney. "We're looking at how Congress operates -- maybe there's a different way of doing it. That's why Paraic (Duffy) and I were of the opinion it needed to be reviewed," he said.

Commenting on the review of playing rules which is currently being undertaken by a special committee -- including managers Brian Cody and Kieran McGeeney -- Cooney said the recommendations would come before a December meeting of the Management Committee.

"If the recommendations are worthwhile and deliverable, we'll bring them to Central Council, who will decide if they should be put to Congress next year," he said.

The November-December inter-county closed season applies again this year but will be changed next year to a phased return to training, depending on when a county was eliminated from the championship.

"The question is: can you guarantee that managers won't break that and that county boards will be strong enough to stand up and make sure that managers adhere to it?" said Cooney. "I think we'll have something a bit more common-sense."

Meanwhile, the GAA and AFL will meet tomorrow to review the Rules series and to discuss how it proceeds.

"Australia are due to come to us in 2013 and, as far as we're concerned, that will go ahead. We'll review whether the one year break after each two-year cycle is working," said Cooney.

Irish Independent

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