GAA congress to debate permanent adoption of black card in hurling

List of motions includes proposal for under-19 All-Ireland to replace minor and U-20

The GAA has released its motions list for this year's congress, at the end of this month. It includes a proposal from the Standing Committee on the Playing Rules (SCPR) to adopt permanently the black card in hurling for cynical play as well as the controversial penalty award for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity.

It, however, crucially restricts the area of operation, which last year during the trial season included the whole pitch 20 metres from goal plus the arc, to the zone “not within 25 metres infield of each sideline” – in other words, narrowing the area of application.

Adjudicating the 25 metres is to be left to the discretion of the referee as “a rule of thumb” rather than an additional pitch marking.

Proposal 27 also specifies that the player committing the fouls will receive a black card rather than a yellow plus sin-binning, so introducing the actual black card into hurling.


The rule proved contentious in last summer’s Clare-Tipperary Munster semi-final when Aidan McCarthy fouled Jake Morris near the sideline but referee James Owens deemed it a goal-scoring opportunity, awarded a penalty and sin-binned the Clare player.

The rule was never implemented again for the remainder of the championship.

GAA Central Council is sponsoring a motion to trial for three years an under-19 All-Ireland to replace the current minor (under-17) and under-20 championships.


If successful, this would mean in 2023 that under-19 would be introduced and played alongside the under-17 and under-20 championships but in the following two years, only under-19 would take place.

There are other proposals, from units of the association, to re-introduce under-18 as the age grade for minor. Three clubs, Corduff (Monaghan), Carrickedmond (Longford) and Kilgarry (Cavan) propose motions 40, 41 and 42 respectively.

The first two named clubs are also among a number of advocates for a motion calling for counties to be allowed to set their own age grades and not have to do so on the basis of Central Council policy.

Other motions include a proposed requirement for disciplinary authorities to “provide reasons” for imposing a greater punishment than the stipulated minimum.

This is advanced by the Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) and is in response to the case of former Cork football manager Ronan McCarthy, who last year was suspended for 12 weeks for breaching Covid lockdown protocols, a longer ban than the minimum.

Although the Disputes Resolution Authority ruled against McCarthy, it also held that the GAA had erred in not providing reasons for the departure from the minimum suspension.


The RAC’s task each year is to update the rule book by introducing tweaks that respond to things like DRA decisions or other rulings that don’t have the force of the Official Guide. Twenty-one motions are in this category.

Other motions up for debate include one from Britain seeking to have the offence of racist or sectarian abuse punishable by a 48-week suspension rather than the current two-match ban for committing the infraction on the pitch.

This would align the offence with assaults on match officials, together with its proposed 96 weeks for a repeat infraction.

Rule 1.12 equates racist and sectarian abuse with the offence of “discrediting the association”, which carries a suspension of eight weeks, but if a player is suspended for this behaviour on-field, the two-match ban supersedes the more serious suspension.

Motion 47 is declaratory of a Central Council decision to allow two players to accept a trophy at a presentation but only if they play for an amalgamated team. This is despite Ballygunner's joint captains Barry Coughlan and Philip Mahony both receiving the Tommy Moore Cup after Saturday's All-Ireland club hurling final.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times