Gaelic Players Association to canvass members on new football proposals

The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) will canvass the opinions of their members on the new football championship proposal after motions for Congress are confirmed today.

Congress takes place in three weeks’ time and the proposed structure, which proposes the All-Ireland quarter-finals be replaced by two round-robin groups of four, will be debated in Croke Park on February 25.

If successful, it will come into effect from 2018.

The Club Players Association, established last month, have already canvassed opinion and last week announced they won’t be supporting the blueprint. Furthermore, they have asked that GAA director general Páraic Duffy park the format.

Duffy unveiled his plans last August but the GPA have chosen to wait until they see the wording of the motion at which point their National Executive Committee will discuss the matter.

Among that committee’s members are GPA secretary and Dublin footballer Paul Flynn, Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly, Armagh’s Aidan Forker and Cathal Cregg of Roscommon. On being unveiled as new GPA chief executive last month, Dermot Earley said their Congress delegate would vote on the motion based on what feedback they received from members.

However, he appeared to indicate personal opposition to it after the GAA refused to allow the body’s own proposal onto the Clár of Congress last year.

“Our proposal actually did facilitate the club player last year,” he said. “There were gaps every three weeks to allow club games to happen and that’s not going to occur in this new proposal, so I don’t know, but again we will survey our members and whatever they decide we’ll bring it to the floor of Congress.”

Meanwhile, Dublin’s All-Star defender Jonny Cooper will miss this Sunday’s Allianz Division 1 opener against Cavan in Kingspan Breffni Park having picked up a one-match ban.

The GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee yesterday confirmed to the Irish Examiner that as a result of a cumulative suspension the Na Fianna man is not eligible for the game. Cooper’s black card in last year’s All-Ireland final replay followed a previous one in February’s league encounter with Mayo and a double yellow card dismissal in the round four clash with Cork in March.

At last week’s Allianz League launch, Cooper said he had not been aware of any suspension and, as far as he was concerned, was available for the game. Last year, his fellow defender Philly McMahon missed the opening clash with Kerry after he was handed a retrospective one-match ban.

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