Hurling joins football in changing U21 All-Ireland championship to U20

Frank Murphy, Secretary of the Cork County Board, during the GAA Annual Congress 2018 at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

By John Fogarty

Hurling will join Gaelic football in moving from an U21 All-Ireland championship to an U20 competition in the near future.

Although a decision on when it comes into force is yet to be made, it’s likely to be either next year or 2020 and it’s expected U20 players will be allowed to play both the under-age competition and senior, unlike football.

Offaly proposed the idea at Congress in Croke Park this afternoon and were supported by Tipperary who withdrew a similar motion after Offaly’s received 75% support. Cork and Waterford were against it, Cork secretary Frank Murphy insisting it was premature to introduce the U20 hurling championship to come into line with football when the new football competition had yet to be experienced. He underlined the strength of the U21 championship as did Waterford secretary Pat Flynn but they didn’t do enough to convince delegates.

Tipperary’s attempt to define a melee as involving a minimum of five players failed having been backed by just 31% of delegates. A number of speakers sought clarification on it and didn’t appear to be convinced.

The GPA’s motion to allow the Central Competitions Control Committee to pick the venues for finals, semi-finals and relegation play-offs in the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cup competitions narrowly succeeded, receiving 62% of delegates’ votes. The GPA hope it will provide the CCCC with the power to improve the promotion of the competitions.

The final motion of the day, Down’s call to allow sent off players to be allowed to take part in post-match presentations, was overwhelmingly backed with 89%.

Meanwhile, the existing special eligibility provision in hurling is now restricted to counties in the Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups, while Clare’s plans to transform the All-Ireland minor football championship failed having picked up 27% support of Congress.

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