THE Ladies Gaelic Football Association held their annual congress over the weekend, with two major talking points emerging.
One is a positive step forward for the association but the other has seen many players and supporters of the game take to social media puzzled at the vote.
The first positive step forward sees the association leading the way again, as they have with the sin bin and the stopping of the clock for injuries and for championship matches a fourth official controlling the clock altogether, taking the pressure off the referee.
From May 1, players who kick a 45 from the ground and over the bar will be rewarded with two points – after a motion from Kilkenny was passed by the congress.
The proposal from Noreside gained large support and will officially come into force on that day.
With this motion voted through, there’s now a huge incentive for teams to maximise their scoring opportunity from the 45-metre line.
The ball must travel over the bar and not be touched by any other player for two points to be awarded.
If the ball is touched or deflected over by another player from the 45-metre kick, one point will be awarded.
The motion added: “To signal a two-point score, the umpire shall wave the white flag and at the same time raise his/her other hand to point directly upwards.”
A proposal to prohibit players from moving the ball backwards from a 45 was defeated.
Another motion, which was defeated, is the one that has many players and former players left puzzled and disappointed.
The motion put forward wanted to add a new rule which stated: “The Ladies Gaelic Football Association recognises and supports the concept of a dual player, as defined, and will encourage all of its units to support and facilitate its playing members of all ages, who wish to do so, to play both Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie.”
This motion was defeated when put forward by speaker John Sheridan from Dublin, a move that surprised many, mainly players and former players.
Dual players, in particular, have taken to social media including Cork dual star Hannah Looney, to express their disappointment at the outcome.
In a tweet, Looney said: “Very disappointing for all dual players around the country and women in sport alike!”
There were many others who also spoke, out with Joanne O'Riordan saying: “Well this is the most bizarre thing...”
However, LGFA President Marie Hickey has strongly rejected suggestions that the association is against the dual player concept.
While the motion was defeated, Laois native Hickey welcomed healthy debate on it and is disappointed that it has been perceived that the LGFA is not supporting the idea of dual players.
Hickey said: “People read it that we weren’t going to work with camogie. There was excellent discussion on the day, and the majority of the discussion was on the wording of the motion, and the definition of ‘dual.’
“Players play other sports outside of camogie and ladies football, and the word ‘facilitate’ means that you have to make it happen, but it’s not always possible.”
Camogie Association President Kathleen Woods, and CEO Sinéad McNulty, were both present at the LGFA’s Annual Congress – and the overwhelming feeling on the ground was that there is excellent collaboration between the two bodies on dual players, and that will remain the case.
Hickey added: “We fully support dual players, but it was down to the wording of the motion.
“It’s also my belief that our rules sufficiently cover the dual player as it is, and we will continue to work together to ensure that this is the case into the future.”
Meanwhile, Micheál Naughton is the new president-elect of the LGFA.
The Sligo native, representing Donegal and Ulster, was voted in by delegates attending LGFA the congress at Galway’s Lough Rea Hotel.
Naughton will officially take over the reins from Marie Hickey at the 2021 annual congress, which will take place in Antrim.