GAA president welcomes women’s inclusion on management committee

John Horan says observer status for women’s football and camogie further evidence of integration

Past and present GAA presidents Aogán Ó Fearghail and John Horan at   GAA Congress at the  Clayton Hotel in Wexford. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Past and present GAA presidents Aogán Ó Fearghail and John Horan at GAA Congress at the Clayton Hotel in Wexford. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Although most attention was trained on the motions about opening county grounds to other sports and whether Dublin’s use of Croke Park should be restricted, there were other issues up for discussion at the GAA’s annual congress in Wexford this weekend.

Association president John Horan said that along with the county grounds issue, he considered motion 18 the most important. This provides for observer status for a representative from women’s football and camogie on the GAA’s management committee – a move overwhelmingly supported, by 90 per cent of delegates, and further evidence of the moves towards greater integration of the sports.

In his address to congress, the president said: “The motion is more than symbolic. It is a further indication of the tangible developments that have followed the signing of the memorandum of understanding to bring all three organisations closer together and to strengthen a network that overlaps in so many ways.”

Congress also rejected a couple of motions intended to relax rules on eligibility for senior club teams by extending their reach to cover 16-year old boys (motion 33) and 13-year old girls (motion 35) despite advice to the contrary from medical professionals, as pointed out by former chair of the GAA’s medical, scientific and welfare committee, Ger Ryan, vice chair of the Munster Council.

He described the suggestion as, “highly inappropriate because they’re simply not ready for it. They are too weak, and would be vulnerable to serious injury which could curtail their careers”.

The move to include 16-year old boys was proposed by Kerry on behalf of the Valentia club, because of difficulties fielding a team. It would be restricted to one-team junior clubs for non-championship matches but it was defeated in the end.

After a presentation to congress from the youth forum, Tipperary withdrew the motion looking to extend the age at which girls could continue to play with boys from 12 to 13.

On Friday evening and continuing on Saturday, Liam Keane, chair of the rules advisory committee (RAC), piloted through the usual raft of tweaks and amendments aimed at tidying up the Official Guide, rather introducing substantive change. It is a task that had previously been undertaken by Cork’s Frank Murphy, who although in attendance, has retired as county secretary and vacated the chair of the RAC.

Keane got all 17 motions through without mishap.

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