Special Congress - To tinker or not to tinker?

On 25 February last, the GAA Congress voted in favour of the 'Super 8' in the football championship. No more All-Ireland quarter-finals, instead eight extra games that will take place in July. Much interest you would have to say on how it works out over its three-year trial period.

And then chatter came from within the hurling ranks. Anthony Daly, Tony Kelly and Henry Shefflin were among those calling for the small game to have its own 'Super 8 or Super 10' or whatever name you want to put on it.

Their concerns were answered with the Hurling Development Committee tabling proposal to restructure the format at provincial and All-Ireland level. And so we arrive at Croke Park where a number of motions will go before delegates at a Special Congress.

Let's look at some of the key proposals that will go before the floor at Croke Park.

Motion 2CCCC/Ard Chomhairle
The race for the Liam MacCarthy will be confined to five teams from Munster and five from Leinster, with the respective championships run on a round-robin basis. Each county to have two home and two away games. Top two teams in each section will contest their provincial final. The third placed each team will face beaten provincial finalists on a cross-provincial basis.

Promotion/relegation will be in play, with the winner of a new Tier 2 Championship qualifying to play in the Liam MacCarthy in the following year.

The Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cups to be run on a round-basis, as is the case already with the Lory Meagher.

Motion 3 - Tipperary
Tipp go along with the 10-team idea for the Liam MaCarthy, split equally across Munster and Leinster.

However, they are seeking the retention of the current knock-out structure that applies in each province.

All-Ireland quarter-finals would see the defeated provincial semi-finalists play off, with the winners to meet the two defeated provincial finalists on a cross-provincial basis.

The Tier 2 winner would contest a Liam MacCarthy relegation/promotion match.

Motion 4 - Dublin 
Word from the capital is that current provincial system works well. No need to change.

However, in the qualifiers, the winners (4) from Round 1 would go straight through to the All-Ireland quarter-final - a round that would have four games. The current structure involves two quarter-finals.

Motion 5 - Cork 
Down south, they want to keep the number of teams who currently play in Leinster and Munster' Like Dublin, they favour the reintroduction of four All-Ireland quarter-finals, but would run it on a round-robin basis, simillar to football's 'Super 8'.   

The Christy Ring winner would get to play in a preliminary quarter-final match. Relegation/promotion from the Liam MaCarthy would only involve Leinster counties. 

Motions 6 - Laois, Offaly, Meath 
This trio are looking for the finalists in the Tier 2 Championship to meet the third-placed sides in Munster/Leinster in the All-Ireland series.

Motion 7 - Cork amendment 
Should Kerry end up in Tier 2  and then win it, the Leinster championship would be their destination.

On our Conor Neville sought the opinion of interested stakeholders across various counties. His findings would seem to cast doubt as to whether the appetite is there for major change.



Meath SHC final
1630 Kiltale v Kildalkey, Pairc Tailteann, 


All-Ireland Intermediate camogie final replay
1330 Cork v Meath, Gaelic Grounds

Down SFC final
1500 Burren v Kilcoo, Páirc Esler

Fermanagh SFC final
1600 Derrygonnelly v Devenish, Brewster Park

Longford SHC final
1530 Longford Slashers v Wolfe Tones, Glennon Bros Pearse Park

Offaly SHC final
1545 Kilcormac/Killoughey v St Rynagh's, O'Connor Park

Westmeath SHC final
1530 Castletown-Geoghegan v Raharney, TEG Cusack Park

Wicklow SHC final
1530 Bray Emmets v Glenealy, Aughrim

Kildare SHC final
1600 Ardclough v Naas, St Conleth's Park

Score updates on Sunday's games on RTÉ.ie from 1330.

Live coverage of the camogie replay and the Down football final on TG4 from 1320.  

Updates on all the day's GAA action on Sunday Sport, RTÉ Radio 1 from 1400.

Unsettled with spells of wet and breezy or even windy weather on both Saturday and Sunday. For more info go to 

Another Royals v Rebels clash

It's three weeks since Cork and Meath played out a 1-09 apiece stalemate in their All-Ireland intermediate camogie final. Who was the happier afterwards? Well, it's hard to say.

Megan Thynne was on the attack for Meath and in the throes of unleashing a shot at glory when referee Liz Dempsey called time on the play.

Cork led for the majority of proceedings and wasted a couple of gilt-edged opportunities with some dreadful wides in the final quarter in particular.

It would have been hard on Meath to lose out too however, as they showed tremendous grit to drag themselves back level after falling four points behind in the first half, and then recovering from the concession of a goal just before the break to reel in a similar deficit in the second period.

Sunday's replay takes place at the Gaelic Grounds, with extra time to follow id thew sides are level after 60 minutes.  

Kilcoo eye six on the spin

The leading lights in Down club football - Burren and Kilcoo  - meet in what should be a fascinating decider in Newry. Between them, the clubs have landed 28 titles, with Kilcoo looking for a sixth title on the trot. Their opponents are looking to bring home the Frank O'Hare Cup for the first time since 2011.

Both sides had comfortable semi-final victories, with Burren defeating Castlewellan by 1-12 to 0-07 and Kilcoo getting the better of Downpatrick on 0-13 to 1-05.

With a number of county stars on view in a year where the Red and Black's stock rose again, a huge crowd should be in attendance to see a piece of history in the making if Kilcoo prevail.

In Fermanagh, Derrygonnelly go in search of a football treble when they take on Devenish St Mary's at Bewster Park. The latter are celebrating their centenary year and edged out Tempo Maguires 0-09 to 0-08 in the semi-final. Derrygonnelly required a replay against Roslea Shamrocks before they booked their final date and were comfortable 2-15 to 0-10 winners at the second time of asking.

O'Connor Park

In the Offaly hurling final, defending champions St Rynagh's take on Kilcormac/Killoughey at O'Connor Park.

After a gap of 23 years, Rynagh's regained the title in 2016. They survived a tense encounter with Seir Kieran in the semi-final, winning by a point - 0-14 to 1-10.

Kilcormac/Killoughey also prevailed by the bare minimum in the last four, as they accounted for Belmont on a 0-12 to 0-11 scoreline. They are seeking a fourth title in all, while Rynagh's chase win number 18.

Elsewhere in hurling, Westmeath champions Rahrney put their title on the line against Castletown-Geoghegan, at TEG Cusack Park. In neighbouring Longford, Wolf Tones go after a fifth title on the spin when they face Longford Slashers at Glennon Bros Pearse Park. 

Ardclough v Naas is the pairing for the Kildare final in Newbridge, while Aughrim is the venue as Bray Emmets go after a four-in-a-row against Glenealy in the Wicklow final.

In Meath, it's the same quest for Kiltale when they oppose Kildalkey at Pairc Tailteann.