A motion giving the GAA Central Council the power to open up county grounds to non-GAA sports was passed overwhelmingly at Congress in Wexford last weekend with 91 per cent of delegates backing it. Another significant motion that was passed will see representatives from the Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie Associations become non-voting members of the GAA’s management committee. Other motions passed means U-20 footballers on senior inter-county panels will now also be able to play for their county U-20 team after their senior inter-county team exits the championship, while the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers, All-Ireland SHC preliminary quarter-finals, and Joe McDonagh matches are now all ‘winner on the day’ fixtures. Two of the most significant motions to be defeated included the Donegal motion which sought to prevent teams naming Croke Park as their home venue for All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals as well as Valentia’s motion that Rule 6.17 be amended by the addition of the following paragraph to “Adult Age” qualification sentence: “A County may have a Bye Law whereby a player who shall have celebrated his 16th birthday prior to January 1st of the championship year may play non-championship games with his club where such club is graded as Junior Championship status with one adult team” .
GAA President, John Horan announced at congress that he intends to set up a working group to research how best to structure a Tier Two All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Their findings will then likely be presented at a Special Congress later this year. President Horan believes the competitive nature of the Allianz Leagues is something that can be replicated by a two-tier Championship. In his address he said “the reality is that for many counties the Allianz Leagues represent their best chance at success and progress, the reason for this is that teams are competing on a more even footing than they do later in the season. The Championship is a different matter where a handful of strong teams are dominant. There is now a growing sense that the competitiveness of the leagues needs to be replicated in the Championship. What is now required is a proper, thorough investigation into how any proposed Tier 2 Championship would work and it requires the input of all stakeholders among the counties it would be designed to benefit. This needs to be a competition of status, represented as such by its place in the calendar and the playing of its final at Croke Park”.