No further clarity on 2021 season as new GAA President ‘delighted’ to see new rules for cynical fouls

INCOMING GAA PRESIDENT Larry McCarthy says he has no further clarity on the format for the 2021 season but was “delighted” to see the motion regarding new penalties for cynical fouls passed at Congress.

Motion 20 was passed by an online vote earlier today, with 61% of delegates voting it through via video conference.

The new set of rules include the introduction of a sin-bin into hurling on a trial basis, as well as penalties awarded in football and hurling for cynical fouls preventing goal opportunities from inside the 20m line.

There was robust debate about the motion, with outgoing President John Horan initially calling for a show of hands to determine the result before asking delegates to cast their votes virtually instead. 

“I’m delighted it passed,” McCarthy told a press briefing as his new term at the head of the association begins having been elected last year.

“I’m absolutely delighted that it passed. There’s cynicism in all sports. The sooner we can clamp down on it, the better. And I think this rule will address that.”

The GAA Ard Stiúrthóir, Tom Ryan added:

“The most important thing from my point of view was the process that applied, and I’m not sure how long we went on with the debate, it was close on an hour.

“I think it got a good airing, and I think everyone who wanted to speak, got a chance to speak on it. I’m pleased with the process that it went through, and I’m pleased it was done properly in difficult circumstances.

“Also the thing to bear in mind is it’s a trial. We shouldn’t be afraid to embark upon new things and try new things, and I think it will make a difference.”

It was announced last week that the 2021 GAA season is to start in May at the earliest while only inter-county GAA is permitted under Level 4 restrictions, according to the Government’s revised ‘Living With Covid-19′ plan.

There’s no further clarity about the 2021 season yet.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Senior club championship games can be played under Level 3 restrictions.

Level 5 Covid restrictions have been extended until 5 April, with Taoiseach Micheál Martin raising the prospect of a GAA season commencing in May after revealing that a review of the Government’s plan will take place before 5 April.

The GAA previously indicated their hope to complete the National Leagues this year, but McCarthy said they have no further information about the format for the 2021 season.

“I have no clarity whatsoever, aside from what Tom [Ryan] released in the last number of weeks, I have no particular insight.”

In his speech as the 40th President of the GAA, McCarthy called on the authorities to allow children return to clubs for underage GAA activity once the schools are re-opened.

He reiterated his stance on this when speaking to the media, and referred to his experience in America where he has lived since emigrating there in 1985.

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“Having seen schools open in the US and school sports coming back, I would have to be optimistic. But I only landed in this country the last 48 hours. It would be wrong for me to suggest I would be optimistic, or not optimistic about it.

“But I am asking it, on the basis of our history and the basis that we did it last year. Acknowledging that circumstances are a bit different this year, the variant is stronger apparently.”

McCarthy was also asked about comments made by Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan at Congress, and his call for equal funding models for counties.

“In the current circumstances where finances are dyer,” says McCarthy, “there will obviously have to be a review of financing. So I’ll just leave it at that, rather than delving into the nuances of equalisation.”

When pressed as to whether he would be against equalisation on a philosophical level, McCarthy replied:

“On a philosophical level, no I wouldn’t. But you have to  acknowledge where the money is going and the value we’re getting out of it. And whether the investments we’re making, whether we’re going to get a good return on them.”

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