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The controversial 'Super 8' is coming into the All-Ireland SFC for three years from 2018

The restructuring of the football championship was passed in Croke Park today.

Former GAA President Sean Kelly spoke in favour of the motion
Former GAA President Sean Kelly spoke in favour of the motion
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Kevin O’Brien reports from Croke Park

THE CONTROVERSIAL SUPER 8 motion has been passed at GAA Congress this morning.

From 2018, Pauric Duffy’s plans to restructure the All-Ireland senior football championship will come in on a three-year experimental basis.

The new format will introduce a round robin group stage at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage which will see the eight teams divided into two groups of four.

The teams will play three games each before the top two in each group progress to the All-Ireland semi-finals.

The groupings in year one (2018) will be as follows:

  • Group 1 – Munster provincial winner, Connacht provincial winner, Ulster runner-up or team that defeats them in round 4 of the qualifiers, Leinster runner-up or team that defeats them in round 4.
  • Group 2 – Ulster provincial winner, Leinster provincial winner, Munster runner-up or team that defeats them in round 4 for the qualifiers, Connacht runner-up or team that defeats them in round 4.

The groups in the succeeding years will be determined by Central Council. Each team will play one home match, one away match, and one match at Croke Park.

In the All-Ireland semi-finals, the Group 1 quarter-final winner will play the Group 2 quarter-final runner-up, and the Group 2 quarter-final winner will play the Group 1 quarter-final runner-up.

The All-Ireland semi-finals will both be played over the one weekend.

Motion 4 was the subject of much debate at Croke Park, as just Cork and the GPA had speakers against the proposal, while Kerry, Meath, Galway, Donegal, Mayo, Monaghan and former GAA president Sean Kelly were among those who supported the motion.

It was a relatively one-sided debate, with 11 speakers in a row backing the Super 8s before Aogan O Fearghail asked, in the interest of balance, if there anyone present who would like to speak against the motion.

There wasn’t, and the motion passed by a margin of 76%-24%.

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Kevin O'Brien

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