The GAA’s Special Congress is set to take place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork, on the 19th of October. Five motions will be voted on by the delegates attending this month’s Special Congress.

Motion 1 that is to be voted on at this month’s Special Congress may be the most important in many people’s eyes. Motion 1 is proposing the introduction of a ‘tier two’ football championship beneath the Sam Maguire Cup.

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The ‘tier two’ competition would be open to Division 3 and Division 4 counties. There are two exceptions to Division 3 and Division 4 teams’ eligibility for this ‘tier two’ competition.

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Firstly, any Division 3 or 4 side who make their provincial final that year, are eligible to compete in the All-Ireland Championship qualifiers instead. Secondly, from 2021 onwards, the winners of the previous year’s ‘tier two’ competition would also compete in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

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This brings us into Motion 2. Here, delegates will vote to decide how they will designate Division 3 and Division 4 teams. One option is to designate the composition of the divisions based on the results of the prior year’s National League. In this scenario, division 3 and 4 teams will be decided based on results as of April 2019.

The other option for Motion 2 is to designate the composition of the divisions based on the results of the competition year’s National League. In this scenario, division 3 and 4 teams will be decided based on results as of April 2020.

Lastly, Motions 3, through 5, will decide the introduction of potential rule changes.

Motion 3 will address the ‘advanced mark’ rule. Delegates will vote on the awarding of ‘marks’ to players who: “cleanly catch a ball kicked from on or beyond the opposing team’s 45m line, that travels at least 20m without it touching the ground.”

The vote will address how the advanced mark rule is implemented going forward. If passed, players will have to signal to the referee they are taking the mark, by immediately raising their arm.

Players would also now have 15 seconds to take the ‘mark’, rather than 5, before it is canceled.

Motion 4 will address the introduction of a ‘sin bin’ for players who receive a black card. Delegates will vote on whether or not they will introduce a 10-minute ‘sin bin’ as a black card punishment.

Finally, Motion 5 will address the taking of kick-outs. Delegates will vote on whether all kick-outs will be taken from the center of the 20m line.

These are all five motions that will be voted on at the upcoming GAA Special Congress on October 19th.

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