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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Limerick boost chances of change
Croke Park
The Croke Park vote will dominate this weekend's GAA Congress
Limerick have boosted the prospects of Croke Park being opened to other sports by voting to support the removal of Rule 42 at Saturday's Annual Congress.

The Munster county's unanimous decision to reverse their previous stance on the issue keeps alive the prospect of an historic change in GAA policy.

Votes from overseas GAA units could now decide the fate of Rule 42.

The decision of whether Saturday's vote is a secret ballot could also have huge implications for the result.

Those in favour of deleting Rule 42 are worried that a secret ballot as opposed to an open vote in Dublin could spell the death knell for the motion.

A secret ballot could mean that a number of individual delegates might be tempted not to follow the mandated positions of their counties, which could have significant implications in a tight vote.

The decision of whether the ballot is secret or on a show of hands will be taken by congress delegates before the vote.

Armagh will be the final of the Ulster counties to make their decision on the issue on Wednesday evening.

Players past and present Jarlath Burns, Enda McNulty and Ger Houlahan have spoken out in favour of the removal of Rule 42 but it would nevertheless be a major surprise if the Armagh delegates don't follow the 'No' line of the other five counties from north of the border.

Of the nine Ulster counties, only Donegal and Cavan have come out in favour of change but it's a different story throughout the rest of Ireland with only Cork and possibly Mayo, expected to vote against the change.

In terms of the crucial overseas votes, with many of those units units using facilities owned by other sporting organisations, that gives the proponents of change optimism that the historic change could indeed happen at Congress.

Seven counties have submitted motions on the Rule 42 issue although it seems certain that only one proposal, calling for Croke Park to be opened on a temporary basis during the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road, will be debated.

GAA president Sean Kelly is among those in favour of the association opening Croke Park to other sports.

Report: Austin O'Callaghan

Antrim oppose Croke Park change
12 Apr 05 |  Gaelic Games
Croke Park moment of truth looms
11 Apr 05 |  Gaelic Games
Tight Croke Park vote in prospect
06 Apr 05 |  Gaelic Games

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