GAA Football

Irish News survey: Vote on Páraic Duffy's proposals will go to the wire

The GAA Director-General Páraic Duffy faces a fight to get his proposals for Championship reform through Congress. Picture by Hugh Russell

THE vote on Páraic Duffy’s proposals for Championship reform will go to the wire at Congress this weekend, with an Irish News survey suggesting that it could still go either way.
The director general’s hopes of getting his proposal passed suffered a blow last night when Gaelic Players Association (GPA) chairman Seamus Hickey confirmed to Newstalk that 70 per cent of its members had voted against the motion.
While they only have a single vote at Congress itself, their opposition to the proposals have added pressure on Duffy (inset) to remove the proposal from the Clár.
With the Club Players’ Association (CPA) having vocally opposed the idea of the round-robin quarter-finals, adding the GPA’s weight to the opposition means implementing the proposals will go against the wishes of the entire bodies of inter-county and club players.
As it stands, based on the expected voting from the 32 counties, Duffy’s proposal could fall short of the
two-thirds majority required.
However, a number of counties are yet to make a definitive decision and could yet swing, while votes granted to units beyond the 32 counties are set to have a major impact on the crucial decision faced by this year’s Congress.
There will be at least eight counties in opposition to the proposal, though The Irish News understands that the final figure could potentially be as high as 13. Ulster trio Derry, Down and
Tyrone are all set to vote against the proposals.
They are likely to be joined by Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow and Laois, the latter of whom are putting forward their own motion for changes to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship that will sit in opposition to Páraic Duffy’s.
The opposition to the motion from Cork is considerable given the strength of their vote.
Congress’s voting system works in a similar way to the Electoral
College system used during presidential elections in the United States.
The number of clubs within a county determines the number of votes they receive, and Cork’s 11 votes – the most of any county – are a significant dent to the proposal’s hopes of success.
Among those unconfirmed are Kilkenny, Louth and Sligo, all of whom are understood to be swaying strongly towards voting against Duffy’s proposals.
Clare were due to make a decision on what to do with their six votes at a county management committee meeting last night, while it’s believed that Offaly’s vote could yet go either way.  Many of the counties surveyed felt that, outside the top bracket, the proposals held nothing positive for them in terms of either their
inter-county or club team.
Nineteen of the 32 counties in Ireland seem certain to vote in favour of the proposals, but while the other 13 are not all certain to go against it, even that may not be enough to prevent them being passed.
The influence of the international units at Congress, who each have votes, is set to have a telling impact on the decision over the ‘super 8’ quarter-finals despite the fact that it doesn’t directly impact them.
The  GPA, past presidents, provincial chairmen and the Uachtarán – Aogan Ó Fearghail, all have one vote each, and the distribution of those votes will be equally critical.
With the international units traditionally supportive of motions brought forward by Central Council, their votes could well swing it in favour of the changes.
The proposals have been broken into three separate motions. The motion regarding the introduction of the round robin is likely to be the only contentious element, with the bringing forward of the All-Ireland finals and the abolishment of replays likely to be passed by landslide margins.

Irish News survey

Against (voting strength)

Carlow (5), Cork (11), Derry (5), Down (6), Kilkenny (5), Louth (5), Laois (6), Sligo (5), Tyrone (6), Wexford (5), Wicklow (5)

In favour

Antrim (5), Armagh (5), Cavan (5), Donegal (5), Dublin (10), Fermanagh (5), Galway (9), Kerry (8), Kildare (6), Leitrim (5), Limerick (8), Longford (5), Mayo (6), Meath (7), Monaghan (5), Roscommon (5), Tipperary (8), Waterford (6), Westmeath (6)

Undecided

Clare (6), Offaly (5)

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