Kilkenny bid to change All-Ireland final dates back unlikely to succeed
Central Council motion to Congress seeks to confirm the current arrangements
Limerick and Galway parade before last year’s All-Ireland final. This year’s hurling decider will take place on Sunday August 18th, the football final set for Sunday September 1st. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
It may not be a headline motion at this weekend’s GAA Congress but Croke Park will be nonetheless observant of the outcome of Motion 40, which is seeking to have the All-Ireland finals played on or before the third Sunday in September, as was the case before 2018.
The motion was submitted by the Kilkenny club O’Loughlin Gaels and made the Congress clár despite effectively going against national policy and strategy as agreed, aimed at freeing up more time for club fixtures.
Congress 2017 voted that both the All-Ireland football and hurling finals be played in August on a three-year trial from 2018 to 2020. The motion, which was aimed at freeing up more time for that club activity, was passed by a margin of 78 per cent to 22 per cent, and meant for the first time since 1903 the All-Ireland finals would be played before September.
Part of Kilkenny’s motivation behind the motion is that they compete in the hurling championship only. There is some speculation, on that basis, the motion may be withdrawn, and given the 2017 result, it’s also unclear what if any support it might get. All motions require a 60 per cent majority to be passed.
In the meantime Central Council have their own motion on the issue, numbered 24, which states the finals be played on or before the 35th Sunday in the year (or in the case when January 1st falls on a Sunday the 36th Sunday in the year).
This is merely to add some clarity in the existing rule, which currently states they be played “on or before the last Sunday in August on dates determined by Central Council”.
The 2018 All-Ireland hurling final was played on August 19th, two weeks earlier than usual, with the football decider on September 2nd. It was due to be played on August 26th but the GAA agreed to move it in order to make Croke Park available on that day for the Pope’s visit.
Since 2006, the hurling and football finals were played on the first and third Sundays in September respectively.
This year’s All-Ireland hurling final will take place on Sunday August 18th, the football final set for Sunday September 1st.
There are several other motions submitted to Congress by Central Council on mainly housekeeping matters.
Motion 16 is related to procedures for disciplinary and related hearings and is seeking to amend the rule so that individuals hit with proposed suspensions/penalties must now reply to the charges within two days instead of three. Motion 17 is also seeking a rule amendment whereby any individual with a penalty imposed “shall remain in effect notwithstanding the submission of the appeal”.
Two motions seek the further recognition within the GAA of camogie and ladies football, Motion 18 allowing for the addition of a Camogie Association representative as well as one from the Ladies Gaelic Football Association as non-voting members of management committee.
There is also a motion from the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), who are seeking representation on the GAA’s CCCC for matters on inter-county fixtures only.
Motion 31, if passed, would give the GPA input into issues “that are related to inter-county hurling and football competitions only”, according to GPA chief executive Paul Flynn, and not in other CCCC functions such as disciplinary procedures.
“We have no vote, all we do is give that information and leave the room,” Flynn explained last week. “We feel that when they are talking about fixtures, inter county games, it is very, very easy for us to be in there. It is really for the purpose of inter county football and hurling fixtures only.”
The GPA are also due to commence renegotiations with the GAA, as the current deal between the groups concludes in late 2019.
Motion 21 will also seek to give Central Council the right to establish a new means of deciding the victor in “winner on the day” fixtures such as the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers, the All-Ireland SHC preliminary quarter-finals and the Joe McDonagh Cup, likely to be a penalty shoot-out.
Motion 23 also seeks to have championship team line-ups confirmed to the referee 40 minutes before throw-in instead of 20 minutes as is the case currently.