Sunday 25 February 2018

Progress on player burnout but fixture crux remains

Paraic Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile
Paraic Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Reducing the age limit in the minor grade and replacing U-21 with U-20 in football were the most significant motions passed at Congress which was much more radical on Friday night than on Saturday.

Several motions were beaten on the second day, including some which director-general Paraic Duffy argued were crucial to club players who are being squeezed by the current fixtures calendar.

However, he insisted that rejection of the proposal to bring the All-Ireland senior finals forward did not mean that the plan to complete the club championships in the calendar year would have to be scrapped.


Reduce the minor age limit from 18 to 17 years from 2017 on.

Replace the U-21 football championship with an U-20 competition to be played in summer.

Introduce a 'mark' in football for a player who fields the ball outside the 45-metre line from a kick-out. The player can then either take a free or play on.

At senior inter-county level, players who are not included on weekend panels of 26 for League and Championship games will be available to their clubs. Failure to implement this rule will be punished by losing home advantage for a League game.

Christy Ring Cup winners to be admitted to the Leinster hurling championship in the year they win the title. Under the old rule, they were promoted to the Liam MacCarthy Cup tier in the following season.


Restrict live TV coverage to free-to-air channels (ruling out any future deals with Sky).

Bring the All-Ireland senior finals forward by two weeks to the first Sunday in September (football) and the second last Sunday in August (hurling).

Play extra-time in all drawn championship games except All-Ireland and provincial finals.

Retain the provincial championships but allow 16 counties only to compete for the Sam Maguire Cup, with the remaining 16 playing in a secondary competition.

Scrap the All-Ireland intermediate hurling and junior football championships.

Retain the provincial championships and base the All-Ireland championship on those results, combined with League rankings. Divide 32 counties into eight groups of four on a seeded basis with fourth seeds playing third seeds and the winners progressing to take on second seeds and so on until the eight All-Ireland quarter-finalists are decided.

Allow Central Council to decide on whether non-GAA sports could be played in county grounds.


Division 4 counties to be excluded from the All-Ireland football qualifiers and instead enter a 'B' championship, with the winners entering the qualifiers in the following season.

Irish Independent

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