THE Cork County Board have postponed plans to hold a special convention regarding the decoupling at minor grade for competitions within the county.
Instead, such a meeting will be held in the autumn, after a special GAA Congress which will be focused on the same matter.
At the March meeting of the county board a fortnight ago, delegates were notified of plans to hold the special convention on Tuesday, April 4, immediately before the next monthly gathering.
It had been hoped that clubs would vote on whether not to separate minor from adult competitions from 2024 onwards. With no clear national consensus reached at last month’s annual Congress, the GAA’s Central Council proposed three options for counties – to continue with minor at U17, with full decoupling; to have minor at U18 with players in their final year at minor allowed to play at adult level with permission from parents/guardians; or to have minor at U18 with full decoupling.
In December, at the annual county convention, Cork clubs voted to return to minor at U18 from 2024 – this year, minor will be U17 but there will be parallel competitions at U18 level.
Seeking clarity on decoupling, the executive of the board had proposed the special convention, with just one motion: that a player playing at adult level would have celebrated his 18th birthday the year beforehand or earlier. This would essentially limit minor players ‘on the age’ to playing minor and the next highest age-grade, which will either be U20 or U21.
Freemount delegate John O’Flynn had spoken strongly against the decision of the executive, expressing the view that it may be ruled out of order, while Donal Lyons of Brian Dillons suggested postponing the special convention until more clarity was provided.
Now, it would seem that that latter course of action will be taken as clubs received a communication from county board secretary/CEO Kevin O’Donovan.
“Further to consultation with Rules Advisory [a central GAA body], it has been decided to postpone next month’s special county convention on age grades until later this year.
“This would allow a special Congress to bring rule into line with Central Council policy, thus facilitating our approach.
“It is hoped that this special Congress would take place in September, followed by our own special county convention soon after.”