Series of anomalies leave Antrim motion on back burner

As expected, Antrim’s successful motion to reward the Christy Ring Cup winners with a Leinster SHC quarter-final spot from next year will not see the light of day.

Instead, it will be recommended that from 2017 the second-tier competition champions will be rewarded with a place in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers.

A series of anomalies about Antrim’s proposal, backed by over 80% of delegates at Congress in February, indicated it would not come to pass.

The decision was made at a Central Council meeting on Saturday after they had previously instructed the Central Competitions Control Committee to meet with the Leinster Council and Antrim to discuss the practicalities of the Christy Ring Cup winners leapfrogging the Leinster qualifying group.

A statement from the GAA yesterday read: “There was acceptance at the meeting that Antrim’s goal (of ensuring the Ring Cup winners could be included in the MacCarthy Cup in the same year as their winning of the competition) could be most effectively achieved by providing access directly to the first round of the Liam MacCarthy qualifiers, rather than into the Leinster quarter-finals as well.

“Central Council endorsed that view and agreed on Saturday to defer the implementation of the motion passed at Congress to allow for a new motion sponsored by Central Council to be brought to Congress in February 2017.

“This new motion will ask that the Christy Ring Cup winners (from Championship 2017 onwards) be included in a preliminary round game in the All-Ireland qualifiers, where they would be drawn against one of the losers of the three Leinster quarter-finals.

"Provision will be made for such a preliminary round qualifier when the 2017 Master Fixtures schedule is being prepared.”

Central Council also agreed to London’s request to stage all their football and hurling league games away from home next year as redevelopment work takes place at Ruislip. In return, all their matches in the 2018 competition will be staged at home.

It was confirmed there will be special football and hurling U17 championships next year “to accommodate players who are currently playing at U16 level (2016) and who would be over-age for the new minor (U17) competitions in 2018”.

The competitions will be organised on a provincial basis with the winner in each going through to All-Ireland semi-finals. The finals in both codes will take place in August.

Meanwhile, the mark, which comes in from next year, will be experimented with in third-level competitions this year. The new rule will be in operation in Division 1 of the Comhairle Ardoideachais Football Leagues commencing in October 2016 where national panel referees will take charge of games.

It was also decided on Saturday that scoreboard clocks be allowed to run until referees blow the end of time in the first and second half.

“Most venues allow the clock to run until the referee sounds the half-time or full-time whistle, while some stop the clock when the 35-minute or 70-minute mark has been reached.

"It was agreed that, in future, the clock will run until the referee blows the half-time or full-time whistle.”

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