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Mar 5, 2021 23:03 By Sean McCaffrey
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Thou shalt not covet the Winning cup, especially if you’re a joint captain

The first remote GAA congress came and went last weekend, with little to know big surprises.

President in waiting Larry McCarthy moved into the top seat with John Horan making way, one of a number of points of business that was taken care of over Saturday.

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While motions discussed, some debated and the majority passed. The announcement of the split season garnered the major column inches and media airwaves, effectively passing through with little or no opposition.

The forced changing of the competitions calendar in 2020 and indeed for the incoming season, allowing delegates, members and players see that championship can be played at any time in a condensed nature.

The “split season” will bring certainty to club players a definite knowledge of when their season will begin and end. The club players association so happy with the decision that they disbanded, safe in the knowledge that their work here was done.

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In fairness their appearance back in 2017 wasn’t unlike a certain TV Series of the 80’s, you know “If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them… Maybe you can hire the CPA (envisage a splay of footballs and sliotars been knocked over a crossbar).

Maor Foirne is now banned from entering the field of play as are any other members of the backroom team, bar medical personnel.

No more unsightly Hi-Viz vests running here and there around the field then, thankfully.

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A temporary substitution can now be introduced for a head injury, similar to what is in place for a blood injury and cynical play will now be punishable in hurling with any attempt to stop a goal scoring opportunity inside the 20-metre line punished with a penalty and a 10 minute stint on the sideline for the guilty party.

The sin bin; which has been in football punishable with a black card, but is a yellow card offence in hurling. Oh and that cynical play, stopping a goal scoring opportunity is now also in football, a penalty rewarded this time.

Other housekeeping motions came and went, but there was one that perked the interest and drew the wrath of the social media brigade. Joint captains will not be able to lift the cup/trophy should their team be fortunate enough to win a competition.

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Even now almost a week after it was passed, there is little known as to why this motion was drawn up and the real though process behind it.

The GAA director General Tom Ryan noted it was “a desire to tidy up presentation around matches” and came through central council but there never seemed to be any issue concerning these presentations before.

It has been categorised along with the Maor Foirne motion in regards as tidying up, but in fairness no Hi-Viz joint captain has taken to the podium and picked a fight with the presentation party or tried to hog the podium space and microphone from the presenting official.

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Maybe that is the issue; the suited and booted official delegated with the all important job of presenting the cup is now been edged out of the photos and relegated to the second row behind the beaming joint captains.

Of course the GAA are entitled to bring these motions and if they pass well and good, all those within the association must toe the line. Where this “banning” of the joint captains may cause some grief is down at the grass roots, at the underage levels.

Yes we all know at the younger end of the scale it is about taking part and not winning, but there are competitions, there are cups to be won and there are presentations to be made. More often than not joint captains may operate at this level, particularly if there is an amalgamation of clubs.

The coming together of two or possible three clubs to form a team can be an incredible complex and stressful operation. Not enough to field a team of your own, you go in search of a club that is in a similar predicament and reach an agreement where you try to have a balance of players, a balance of coaches and a balance of management.

What club colours will be worn? Where will the “home” games be played? where does training take place? The role of captain or captains also becomes a balancing act, one from each club; try to keep everyone happy and away you go.

The championship gets underway, teams are selected, players are dropped, players are brought in, disagreements ensue, matches are won, selections are forgotten, the championship journey continues, mediation works continue in the background, the final is reached, the championship is won, the amalgamation that may have crashed and burned at any time is hailed a success the cup is to be presented and then “boom” only one captain.

The Good Friday agreement talks will pale into significance when this subject is brought up on the sideline and a decision has to be made. Which club will get the honour, what player will be the face of the photograph along with the presenting official for the history books; all other balancing decisions are now part of the biggest balancing act of them all, who gets the cup.

Easy way out, the two captains, but that can’t happen anymore. Interestingly the “desire to tidy up presentations around matches” could become very untidy.

All is not lost however, again a quote direct from the Director General states that the motion “specifically refers to is two people accepting the trophy from whoever’s presenting it” so all you need is a third captain, but which club provides it, back to balancing have a fourth captain.

So now four can go forward for the presentation, the suited and booted presenting official better hope the photographers have a wide lens camera.

Will that situation arise, could it happen, it might and then again it might not but by just tinkering with the rules, could be stirring a pot that did not need it.

Does it matter who gets their hands on the cup as long as you are the winning team, maybe not, but I still wouldn’t like to be the one telling one of the joint captains to keep your hands in your pockets.

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