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Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Saturday, 17 April 2010 13:39 UK

Experimental rules left in tatters by GAA Congress

GAA director-general Padraig Duffy
GAA director-general Padraig Duffy at Congress on Friday evening

The GAA's list of experimental rules were left largely in tatters at Friday's opening session of the sport's annual Congress in Newcastle, Co Down.

The rules were in effect during this year's National Leagues but those rejected included the proposed new closed-fist pass.

The 'mark' was also binned after failing to get a two-third's majority.

The square ball motion was also rejected as was the dead ball plan connected with half-time and full-time.

This would have brought that GAA into line with Rugby Union in that half-time and full-time would not have been called until the ball had gone dead.

The only two experimental rules to get the thumbs up were the proposal to bring penalties from 13 metres to 11 metres and the motion calling from all kickouts to be taken from the 13-metre line.

Football Rules Committee chairman Seamus Woods spoke in favour of the Australian Rules-style mark but despite initial vibes that the motion might get through, the show of hands indicated otherwise and the issue didn't go to a vote.

Former Armagh captain and BBC pundit Jarlath Burns and Ulster Council secretary Danny Murphy both made strong case for the abolition of the square ball rule but again, their words went largely unheeded.

There was strong support for a Central Council proposal that playing panels at inter-county senior level should be limited to 26.

GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell
Dessie Farrell was pleased after Congress officially recognised the GPA

It means a change from current practice of having 24 players in the official panel for the league and 30 for championship.

Congress delegates also strongly backed Croke Park's call for pitch invasions to be halted after viewing a specially produced video which was backed up by a strong appeal on the issue from GAA president Christy Cooney.

Cooney added that the GAA could be forced as "a last resort" to urge the government to introduce legislation banning pitch invasions.

Also on Friday night, the GAA's Central Council voted to suspend this year's Interprovincial Championships in a move which probably signals the end of the competitions.

The series had been run every year since 1927 with the exception of 1990.

The decision was taken due to a number of factors, including insufficient player commitment, lack of public interest, cost and scheduling pressures.

Meanwhile, Saturday morning's session saw the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) being granted formal recognition on a permanent basis by the GAA.

This puts in GAA statutes the interim agreement reached by Croke Park and the GPA last November.

Former GAA president Nickey Brennan and Sean Kelly were among strong backers of the motion.

Those against included Tyrone delegate Mark Conway.

Congress also voted to give the Central Council continuing authority to make Croke Park available for soccer or rugby.

The opening of the new Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road means that soccer and rugby internationals are unlikely to be played at Croke Park in the new future but the GAA are keen to keep their options open.

GAA president Christy Cooney stressed that the motion applied to "no other GAA facility".

Croke Park was opened to soccer and rugby in 2005 for the duration of the construction of the Aviva Stadium.

However, the 36,000,000 Euro profit made by the association in that time has swayed opinion in favour of retaining the option.

see also
GAA player welfare plan launched
02 Mar 10 |  Gaelic Games
Congress votes against new rules
18 Apr 09 |  Gaelic Games

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Irish Independent No more meddling -- Cooney consigned to history - 6 hrs ago
Irish Times GPA finally recognised officially by association - 11 hrs ago
Belfast Telegraph Cooney calls for unity to boost GAA - 12 hrs ago
Times OnlineCroke stays open to rugby - 32 hrs ago
Breaking GAA determined to put an end to pitch invasions - 63 hrs ago
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