While the bulk of the items on the list of motions were allowed through without discussion, a number of motions required votes of the delegates in attendance, with strong opposition shown in some cases.
Most notably, a motion from the GAA Central Council, seeking to reduce the number of delegates that counties can have at Congress to four, did not receive any support, with John Corcoran (St Mary’s) saying that it was “only right that bigger units were represented by a bigger cohort”.
The notion of a distinctive annual youth forum, to be held prior to Congress, was supported, county board secretary Frank Murphy pointing out that the current system of counties sending three U-21 delegates to Congress was not being adhered to, bar a few exceptions (including Cork).
Cork’s Central Council delegate Des Cullinane said that Congress needs to be reformed and efforts were made to that end, suggesting the legality of previous Congresses could be questioned due to a lack of adherence to rules.
Motion number 20, proposing that Croke Park be the venue for Congress from 2014, was carried. Ger Lane, board chairman, said that, in Croke Park, the GAA had the “best venue in Europe for conferences, whereas you go down the country to a three-star hotel and it’s all over the shop”.
Another Central Council motion, regarding the phased return to training of intercounty teams depending on their date of exit from the championship, was carried, despite the misgivings of John Corcoran.
He said that basing the returns on dates was the wrong way to go, as a county that was knocked out on June 30 may have to wait two weeks longer than a team beaten on July 1, even if they were exiting at the same stage. Frank Murphy said that the motion would be passed or rejected as it was, and that changes at Congress would not be entertained.
Bride Rovers delegate John Arnold said that the training ban was not being observed anyway, and wondered flippantly if a vigilante committee, such as the one set up during The Ban, could be established.
A vote was required for the motion on the abolition of the ‘square ball’ rule in open play in football, eventually carried by 72 votes to 57.
The motion of Limerick’s Mungret GAA club, seeking to directly elect the association’s President, was not passed, and neither were proposals from Glenelly (Tyrone) and Lavey (Cavan) in favour of bringing back play-offs when counties finish level on points in the league. The proposal of Boyle from Roscommon to play the All-Ireland hurling final in August was decried by Sciath na Scol delegate Liam Weir as it would deny the promotion of the game in primary schools, which would not yet be back, while changes to the All-Ireland U21 hurling championship – one suggestion that Munster and Leinster finalists play the Connacht and Ulster champions and one that it be run on a round-robin basis – were also defeated. It was also announced that Cork junior football manager Niall Kelleher has had to step down for personal reasons.
A motion of sympathy was passed for former Kerry footballer John Egan. Jim Ryan of Bishopstown, with whom Egan was involved later in his career, described him as “a great Gael, magnificent footballer and character”.