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Councils to debate GAA fixture proposals

By John Campbell

The wheels of change could be about to turn just that little bit faster within the GAA.

At its weekend meeting, the all-powerful Central Council body took on board recommendations from a special work group charged with formulating proposals to have all competitions completed within the calendar year and now these recommendations will be debated by every county board.

The Ulster Council will set the tone for what promises to be some feverish behind-the-scenes activity when its Management Committee meets tomorrow night to discuss the proposals which include the staging of the All-Ireland Club championship finals in December each year, earlier dates for the All-Ireland football and hurling finals, a greater emphasis on the completion of club championships and the virtual elimination of winter training.

Ulster Council PRO John Connolly makes it clear that the proposals will merit "strong debate".

He said: "We in Ulster will be taking stock of the recommendations and will give careful consideration to their ramifications."

But Crossmaglen Rangers boss Oisin McConville believes that the work group has not gone far enough.

"We are only going to get one swipe at this and we must make it count. There is a crying need for a fixtures overhaul and I think the All-Ireland finals could be played even earlier," insists McConville.

Meanwhile, in the Ulster U21 club football tournament at the Kickhams Creggan club, Cavan side St Joseph's beat Armagh representatives St Patrick's Cullyhanna by 3-7 to 2-9 and go through to the semi-finals in which they will join St Eunan's Letterkenny.

The remaining quarter-finals will be played next weekend when Omagh St Enda's meet St John's and Watty Graham's, Glen take on Monaghan outfit Scotstown.

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