Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Grounds for disappoinment after Congress

By Declan Bogue

Pete McGrath was in rare form on Sunday after his Fermanagh side defeated Tipperary to maintain their 100% record after three games in the National League.

Larking around with reporters, we began a question about rule changes at the previous day's Congress, to which he quipped, "Not more rule changes!" in a deadpan delivery.

Well, as it happens there were not many actual changes to the playing rules, nor will there be for the next five years. Some that were passed were excellent and filled with rare common sense, such as granting linesmen - when neutral - additional powers to assist refs in the event of foul play or disputed scores.

The nonsensical motions calling for handpassing to be restricted were shot down as proposed solutions that would instead create bigger problems.

There are two disappointments however, and one is how Central Council shelved the notion of using a 'hooter' to indicate time up in matches, despite it having been such a success in Ladies' football. We are now in for more of the same time-keeping controversies. What a pity.

The other lies with the hammering of a motion to allow Central Council to open up county grounds to other sports. Those that say county boards have no teeth at Congress clearly did not see this coming.

How this leaves the Rugby World Cup bid in 2023 is unclear. But there are a few hoops to be jumped through yet.

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