James Crombie/INPHO
Change It Up

Munster GAA schools discover playing rule u-turn 6 days before knockout games

Gaelic football sides in Munster have found out they must play under the new sin-bin, advanced mark and kick-out rules.

GAELIC FOOTBALL SCHOOL sides in Munster have discovered they must play under the new rules rubber-stamped by the GAA last October, just six days before their senior quarter-final ties in the province.

The quarter-finalists in the senior championships had been informed before Christmas that their last eight games – which take place next week – would operate under the previous playing rules as the competition began in the closing months of 2019.

The42 has learned that schools were informed in an email on 20 December from the Munster Post Primary Schools body that they would not have to play under the playing rule changes (10 minute sin bin, the advanced mark and all kick-outs being taken from the 20 metre line) for their games in the knockout stages.

But the schools were then contacted on Thursday this week to advise them that the new rule changes would be implemented for the remainder of the Munster schools senior football competitions.

GAA’s Special Congress last October saw the approval of three playing rule changes and they then came into operation at all levels of the game for the 2020 campaign. 

However it is customary that a GAA competition finishes under the playing rules that it started with. The All-Ireland senior, intermediate and junior club championships – which all began in 2019 with county and provincial action before concluding on the national stage this month – are all being completed under last year’s playing rules.

For example last Saturday’s senior semi-final between Kilcoo and Ballyboden St-Enda’s in Cavan saw black cards dished out with replacements permitted rather than the player having to spend ten minutes in the sin bin.

Munster school sides have protested at the u-turn over the playing rules and the lack of time for their players to prepare for the different changes.

A fixture compromise has been offered with schools allowed to defer games to on or before 24 January in order to give players more training time but both teams must agree and have the fixture finalised by noon on Monday.

There are five senior grades in the second-level of Munster football with the Corn Uí Mhuirí the premier competition. There are four Cork teams (Hamilton HS Bandon, Coláiste Choilm Ballincollig, Rochestown College and Clonakilty CC), three Kerry sides (St Brendan’s Killarney, Tralee CBS and PS Rathmore) and Clare’s St Flannan’s in this year’s quarter-finals with the winners advancing to compete in the for the Hogan Cup on the All-Ireland stage.

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