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Low-key Congress will deliver some change

By Declan Bogue

Roughly halfway through the list of motions set to be debated at the upcoming 2019 GAA Congress in Wexford rests an enormously significant proposal from Ard Chomhairle.

Up until now, Central Council were able to decide what sporting activity outside the Gaelic Games remit took place in Croke Park. This proposal floats the idea that it can have the same powers for all grounds vested in the Association.

If Central Council manage to get the 60% of the vote required, then it is highly unlikely they will be flooded with demands to host soccer and rugby games up and down the island. But at least it gives them a chance to address the requests as and when they arise.

In recent years, Congress has been a highly-charged event with black cards passed, the Club Players' Association sidelined and an unholy mess made with the fixtures calendar.

There is nothing quite as divisive in this year's list of motions, unveiled in Croke Park yesterday, but there is potential for victory for the common man in Donegal's proposal (motion 39) that 'Counties who qualify for the football inter-county quarter-final group stage shall not be permitted to nominate Croke Park as their home venue'.

While this is designed to ensure Dublin do not get two home games in the Super8s series, what happens when they draw another big county for their designated home game, say Donegal?

In that case, the only venues that could cope with the crowd are Nowlan Park in Kilkenny (five hours from north Donegal), Semple Stadium (add another half-hour), or Clones (no chance Dublin will play their designated home game there).

It will sail through. Inflicting a bloody nose on Dublin as they seek five consecutive All-Irelands will be too tempting.

Belfast Telegraph

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