Cooney holds firm over NHL plans despite opposition
GAA president Christy Cooney doesn't envisage any change to the proposed NHL structures for the 2012 campaign, despite growing opposition among counties.
Representatives from the eight sides that were due to play in Division 1 next season before the introduction of Division 1A and 1B met in Thurles yesterday to urge Croke Park to reconsider its decision, while there was particularly strong opposition to the new format at this week's Cork County Board meeting.
However, Cooney warned that the decision could only be reversed with a two-thirds majority vote at Central Council level and they don't meet again until November 12.
"Central Council have made that decision. As it stands, there's no change envisaged. Central Council made their decision at the last meeting about what they wanted in hurling and football," he said.
"I've heard rumours of counties meeting to look to change it, but they'll have to bring a motion to Central Council. It will require a two thirds majority to change a decision that's already made."
The Cork native also denied that the decision to overturn Diarmuid Connolly's red card which he picked up in Dublin's All-Ireland semi-final victory over Donegal had anything to do with media pressure and the fact the that St Vincent's man might have missed an All-Ireland final.
"Knowing the chairman of the hearings committee, as I do well, and the committee, they would have based it on the facts before them," he said. "They've dealt with matters as they should be dealt with and I'd be very happy that they've done so on this occasion."
Cooney also hinted that the GAA's newly appointed committee, that can bring about change to playing rules on an annual basis, could look at the possibility of introducing a punishment for players who exaggerate their injuries. "There'll always be a concern or a perception by some as to whether the player is injured or just stopping the play. But that's not something that's new just yesterday or today."
Laois hand down hefty suspensions
SIX players and two mentors have been hit by bans of between one month and two years arising from an incident in the Laois SFC game between The Heath and Ballylinan last Thursday. Ballylinan goalkeeper Pauric Walsh was banned for two years while four other players -- Aidan and Gary Walsh (Ballylinan), Daithi Carroll and Denis Booth (The Heath) -- were suspended for six months.
Ballylinan selector Ger Walsh and Pat Booth (The Heath) were each suspended for a year. Alan Bell, a substitute for The Heath, was suspended for a month. Both clubs were fined €1,000 each with a further suspended fine of €1,000.
The severity of the sanctions reflects the Laois County Board's disgust at the incident which led to the match being abandoned close to the finish.