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James Crombie/INPHO Fionn Fitzgerald and Kieran O'Leary after Kerry's All-Ireland win in 2014.
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'Same theme as incursions into the field ' - Joint-captains lifting trophies rule explained
The controversial motion was passed at Congress on Saturday.

THE INTENTION TO “tidy up presentation around matches” is the thinking behind a new GAA rule which prevents joint-captains from lifting trophies together.

A controversial motion was passed at Congress on Saturday, dictating that joint-captains will no longer be allowed to accept a trophy on behalf of their team. Instead, a single captain must be appointed to accept the cup.

Motion 7 was passed by delegates who were attending the Congress via video conference.

The ruling triggered a controversial reaction among GAA fans, who questioned the logic to abolish this tradition.

Joint-captains have become a common sight in recent years, including skippers Matthew O’Hanlon and Lee Chin who lifted the Bob O’Keeffe Cup for the Wexford hurlers after the 2019 Leinster final.

Kieran O’Leary and Fionn Fitzgerald held up the Sam Maguire after Kerry were crowned All-Ireland champions in 2014.

“It specifically refers to two people accepting the trophy from whoever’s presenting it,” GAA Ard Stiúrthóir, Tom Ryan, told the media when asked about the motion.

“Thereafter, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with scenes where people in succession go up and lift trophies and partake in that. It’s not that. It’s specifically the ceremony attaching to handing over the cup.”

When asked to further elaborate the rationale behind bringing the motion before Congress, Ryan added:

“[The] Sentiment [is to] tidy up things around the periphery of match day presentation, probably around the same theme as incursions into the field and there have been overtures in recent years about Maor Foirne, not in response to anything specific but just a desire to tidy up presentation around matches.”

Incoming GAA President Larry McCarthy also addressed the media after the conclusion of the 2021 Congress.

While laying out his plans for the future, he indicated his desire to change the format of the All-Ireland SFC although he said he didn’t have a “particular preference” for replacing it with a league format.

He also stressed that the biggest challenge facing the GAA over the next two years is “getting us back on the field.”

A lot of uncertainty remains about the format of the 2021 GAA season. There will no on-filed activity at any level until Easter and no decision has been made about what competitions can take place this year.

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Level 5 restrictions will remain in place in Ireland until 5 April following the release of the Government’s revised ‘Living With Covid-19′ plan last week.

Inter-county GAA is only permitted under Level 4 while senior club championships are covered under Level 3. Ryan says the 2021 fixture schedule will be determined by the whatever decisions are made by the Government in relation to Covid-19.

“From my own perspective at the moment, everything seems to be challenged. To be honest I don’t know what we’ll be able to play and what we won’t be able to play.

“An awful lot will depend on what latitude we’re permitted by the Government and the time that we’re left with. On the theme of last year, we’ll do everything we can to get as much as we can played but we haven’t gone into specifics.

“We’ve all manner of contingency plans but three or four of them have already been torn up and thrown out since the start of the year. I genuinely don’t know.”

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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