Galway and Antrim join Leinster


Galway and Antrim will play in the Leinster hurling championship next year after the motion was overwhelmingly passed at GAA Special Congress on Saturday.

The new disciplinary proposals, developed by the Disciplinary Task Force, were also passed, almost unanimously.

The hurling proposals, which met opposition from a number of Leinster counties comprising of Offaly, Wexford, Dublin and Westmeath, were widely expected to be passed as Connacht, Munster and Ulster counties were likely to vote in favour en masse.

Pleas were made against the proposal by Dublin’s Danny O’Connor, Laois’ Mick Carroll, Offaly’s Andy Gallagher and Wexford’s Ger Doyle.

However, the motion – proposed by the Hurling Development Committee and spoken for at Congress by Galway and Antrim officials – will now completely change the nature of hurling in Ireland. Roughly 80% of delegates backed the proposal.

The disciplinary proposals, which propose to ‘maintain and enhance continuity of play in football and hurling’ had widespread support.

However, in a surprise move before the congress began, GAA President Nickey Brennan revealed that the changes would be run on a trial basis in the January competitions and National Leagues first, rather than being permanent as was first thought.

The proposals will go before Main Congress in April, and if passed will be brought into force for the championships.

The main change is that there will now be six designated ‘highly disruptive’ fouls that will be punishable by an immediate yellow card which forces the aggressor to be substituted.

Liam O’Neill, the chairman of the Task Force, said: "Any referee who fails to identify the seriousness of such highly disruptive fouls shouldn’t be a referee."

There were no speakers on the motion from the counties, indicating a high level of support.

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