Saturday 19 January 2019

Davy 'invasion' sparks motion moves

Wexford’s Davy Fitzgerald tussles with Tipperary’s Jason Forde last April
Wexford’s Davy Fitzgerald tussles with Tipperary’s Jason Forde last April

Davy Fitzgerald's high-profile pitch invasion during an Allianz HL semi-final last April could spark a rule change at annual Congress later this month.

In an intriguing postscript to the flashpoint ignited by the Wexford manager's on-field incursion against Tipperary, two separate motions will appear on the Congress agenda.

The most eye-catching comes from Tipperary, focussing on the infraction of "contributing to a melee", which seeks to define a melee in relation to GAA disciplinary matters as a "minimum of five persons".This is an obvious reaction to the fallout from last April's controversy in Nowlan Park, caused by the on-field encroachment of Fitzgerald who ended up receiving an eight-week suspension.

The Wexford boss was angered by the decision to allow a Tipperary goal to stand. There followed a coming-together with a couple of Tipp players, one of whom - Jason Forde - was initially hit with a proposed two-match ban before this was halved by the Central Hearings Committee and his alleged offence downgraded to one of "contributing to a melee".

The saga left a bad feeling in Tipp, and hence the above proposal.

Croke Park has also moved to address any fallout from the above controversy with another motion put forward by the Rules Advisory Committee.


Essentially, in scenarios where players engage in "minor physical interference" with an opposing team official, this would carry a minimum one-match suspension rather than a two-match ban.

Under the proposal, the following sub-paragraph would be added to Rule 7.2(b) covering category three infractions by players: "Minor physical interference (eg, laying a hand on, pushing, pulling or jostling) with an opposing team official, either on or off the field of play."

Overall, the list of motions going to Congress this year will generate far less headlines than the recent norm, given the swathe of major changes to competition structures that have been enacted.

But there is at least one noteworthy motion from Central Council, which proposes that sponsorship by a betting company of any competition, team, playing gear or facility be prohibited.

Meanwhile, managers of U20 county football teams will be keeping a particularly close eye on a motion from Longford and Wexford, which seeks to relax a key plank of player eligibility for this new competition.

They are proposing that a player who plays any inter-county SFC game in a current championship year shall be ineligible to play for his county U20 team that year. As matters stand, a player is automatically excluded from U20 action if he is named in a 26-man SFC match-day squad.

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