Mood for change at GAA Congress appears to have cooled overnight

GAABy Sean McGoldrick
GAA Director General Paraic Duffy at Congress 2016
GAA Director General Paraic Duffy at Congress 2016

ANY notion that the 2016 GAA Congress would be remembered as a reforming went up in smoke today in Carlow.

Having agreed to historic changes in the All-Ireland minor football and hurling championships and the U-21 football championships at the opening session on Friday night the delegates' mood for reform disappeared overnight!

Despite the increasing irritation of GAA Director General Paraic Duffy, delegates failed to back a number of proposals which were essentially designed to make more time available for club activity.  

The key motions failed to receive the requisite two third majority.

Proposals to bring forward the dates of the All-Ireland football and hurling senior finals by two weeks; abolish all replays in championship games - with the exception of the provincial finals and the All-Ireland finals in both codes - and to abolish the All-Ireland Intermediate hurling championship and the All-Ireland junior hurling championships all received in excess of sixty percent support but they fell short of the two-thirds threshold.

Significantly, some of the bigger hitting counties such as Cork, Galway and Kilkenny opposed the reforms and although there were passionate pleas from both the Connacht GAA secretary John Prenty as well as Duffy their appeals fell on deaf ears.

The rules changes made on Friday night means that the age limit for the inter county minor grades is changed from under 18 to under 17. There will be no change in the age limit at club level.

Furthermore, the All-Ireland U-21 football championship at inter county level will effectively become a midweek tournament for U-20 players during the summer months.

There will extra time played in all games that finish in a draw followed by a sudden death play off involving free-taking.

These changes will not come into force until January 1 2018.