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Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Saturday, 18 April 2009 13:51 UK

Congress votes against new rules

Nickey Brennan and Paraic Duffy
Nickey Brennan announces the result as Paraic Duffy shows his reaction

The GAA's annual Congress has narrowly voted against retaining the experimental football and hurling rules for this year's Championship.

There were 177 votes for the motion with 100 against, which was only eight short of the two-thirds majority needed to ensure the change.

Outgoing GAA president Nickey Brennan had argued passionately in favour of the change.

But Mickey Harte was among influential voices favouring the status quo.

Kerry manager Jack O'Connor and Monaghan boss Seamus McEnaney had also spoken out strongly against the introduction of the new yellow card rule, which results in players being automatically replaced by a team-mate.

During the early stages of the National League, the experimental rules appeared to have little prospect of being voted through at Congress.

However, the new rules appeared to gain support in recent weeks and Saturday's vote was closer to the two-thirds majority than most commentators had predicted.

The vote is a blow to the GAA's Disciplinary Task Force which had made presentations in all 32 counties urging their adaptation in recent weeks.

It's time to stop ranting about the problem and time to do something about the solution
GAA Task Force chairman Liam O'Neill before the vote

A counter motion, proposed by Wicklow and backed by Tipperary and Monaghan, calling for the rules not to apply in the club game and to be trialled in the 2009 Championship was not proceeded with.

Nickey Brennan said that experiments in Championship competition were not appropriate and he urged delegates to 'leave the motions as they are', saying that "we've already had a period of experimentation".

However, speaking from the Congress floor GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell said that intercounty players, particularly hurlers, were against the changes.

Derry's Seamus McCloy spoke in favour of change but Tyrone chairman Pat D'Arcy said there were more than enough sanctions in the old rules to deal with indiscipline, adding that refereeing standards was a more pressing issue.

Several other delegates gave impassioned speeches in favour of the motion.

It was agreed prior to the vote that bans for yellow card offences would not carry over.

At that point, Disciplinary Task Force chairman Liam O'Neill insisted that it was time to "stop ranting about the problem and time to do something about the solution."

However, the GAA's top table was left seriously disappointed after the result was announced by the outgoing president.

Congress was held in Douglas in Cork and local man Christy Cooney officially took over from Brennan as GAA president on Saturday afternoon.

see also
Cooney praises departing Brennan
18 Apr 09 |  Gaelic Games
GPA says players oppose new rules
14 Apr 09 |  Gaelic Games
GAA attempts to tweak new rules
24 Mar 09 |  Gaelic Games
Harte hammers rules after defeat
08 Mar 09 |  Gaelic Games
Experimental rules get thumbs up
05 Jan 09 |  Gaelic Games

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