Merge needs simple majority

The GAA has confirmed that the motions to merge the under-21 and minor grades into a new under-19 grade will require only a simple…

The GAA has confirmed that the motions to merge the under-21 and minor grades into a new under-19 grade will require only a simple majority to be passed at Saturday's special congress in Croke Park.

Saturday's congress will deal with 24 motions arising from the GAA's Task Force on Player Burnout, with motions 16-20 dealing specifically with the abolition of the under-21 and minor grades, and the introduction of the under-19 grade - but because the motions call for only their temporary introduction, therefore requiring only experimental rule changes, the usual two-thirds majority will not apply for their approval.

The other motions up for approval on Saturday, which involved club and championship restructuring, will require the two-thirds majority as they are presented as being permanent.

"The only motions that will be decided on a simple majority are the ones concerning the under-21 and minor championships," said the GAA's press officer Feargal McGill. "That's because they only involve experimental rule changes, which are also different from temporary amendment to rules. The precedent for this is that the experimental rules introduced for some of the recent hurling championships were also passed on a simple majority."

All indications so far, however, point towards these motions being too radical and controversial for approval, even on the basis of a simple majority.

Even members of the task force on burnout have admitted they face an uphill battle in getting the new under-19 grade introduced.

The GAA, however, aren't yet predicting the likely outcome. "I think we have to bear in mind that a lot of the people who have been commenting on these motions have been county managers," added McGill.

What the motions do have in their favour is their two-year experimental nature, and also that they won't come into effect until the 2009 championships.

It has, however, been pointed out that burnout as a result of the heavy demands at under-21 and minor is a bigger problem for football than hurling, and given the four championships affected are dealt with separately in motions 16-19, it may yet be that the new under-19 grade is approved for football, but not for hurling.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics