Galway the winners as minor and U21 hurling championships changes backed by Special Congress

Central Council motions to alter the U21 and minor All-Ireland hurling championships were backed by Special Congress in Croke Park today, writes John Fogarty

The proposal to allow Galway and Ulster teams as agreed by the Leinster and Ulster Councils into the Leinster U21 championship was backed by 72% of delegates.

Offaly tabled an amendment that only the Ulster counties be accommodated in Leinster and Galway enter Munster but it was soundly defeated.

The original recommendation would have ended All-Ireland U21 semi-finals as the Munster winners were set to face off against the Leinster victors from next year.

However, Cork argued that they should be retained with the Munster champions taking on the runners-up in Leinster and vice-versa. Their idea was endorsed by 78% of delegates.

In the biggest success of the day, the Central Council’s plan for the minor championship was backed by 92% of Special Congress.

Their blueprint will see Ulster teams enter the Leinster championship while Galway will be included in an All-Ireland group along with the two provincial runners-up.

GAA President Aogan O Fearghail with former president Liam O'Neill at the Special Congress at Croke Park, Dublin. Photo Credit: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

The top two teams after that round-robin process is completed will enter the All-Ireland semi-finals on the opposite side of the draw to the two provincial champions.

Meanwhile, the motion to ensure all kick-outs in Gaelic football pass the 20-metre line was supported (82%) despite a representation from Dublin who argued it would contribute to more negative football. Playing rules committee chairman Jarlath Burns proposed the motion.

The motion that underage age grades at club level be altered from Under 12, 14, 16 and 18 to Under 11, 13, 15 and 17 was withdrawn for more discussion ahead of next February’s Annual Congress.

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