Body Of Evidence

Updated hurling championship proposals

Please see link below to final version of the GAA Hurling Championship Proposals following inputs considered by the CCCC. These will now be going forward to a Special Congress on 30th September.


Of the amendments which the GPA submitted to the CCCC to the original proposal the following changes have been implemented

  • A six-team Provincial Qualifier Group (Tier 2) consisting of Laois, Westmeath, Kerry, Carlow, Antrim and Meath based on 2017 results.
  • Top two teams from Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cup round robin groups qualify for semi-finals.

However the following GPA suggestion was not included:

  • Two teams from the Provincial Qualifier Group (Tier 2) progress to play the 3rd placed teams from the Leinster and Munster Round Robin Tier 1 groups, providing an extra game for another county and rectifying imbalance between Leinster and Munster RR Group.

With regard to potential changes to the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher competitions, the suggestions from the players have been submitted to the CCCC who were broadly receptive of the recommendations. These will require scheduling change rather than structural change with final details of these to be confirmed after the outcome of Special Congress.

  • Extension of season from five weeks to potentially nine weeks, for a finalist, allowing break weeks for recovery and preparation before semi-finals and final.
  • Final of Lory Meagher Cup to be played as a double-header with Leinster or Munster RR final round game.
09 August 2017/Author: Media GPA/Number of views (745)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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"Playing against Tyrone was different than anything else I experienced as a footballer,"

Oisín McConville on the epic Tyrone/Armagh rivalry


As some of the biggest games of his Armagh career were peering over the horizon, Oisín McConville was always laid-back and relaxed and the scale of the occasion never fazed him as he took it all in his stride.

That was unless Tyrone were in the other corner, if the Red Hand were approaching there would be a clear change. All of a sudden, it was no longer 'just another game' and McConville would steel himself for a challenge like no other.

"I was fairly relaxed and level-headed going into games in general but those games against Tyrone took on a completely different life of their own, it was a completely different experience. It was almost like it was claustrophobic," the two-time All-Star tells

"There was never more than a score between us and it was a great time to be playing football, they brought the best out in us and we brought the best out in them. Some people would say we also brought the worst out in each other but they were trying to get where we were and then we were trying to get where they were and we were both driving each other on.

"You had to prepare mentally and physically, it was a challenge to the head, it was a challenge to bite your tongue, it was a challenge to your discipline because there was a lot of verbals floating around. It was different than anything I experienced as a footballer."

The 30 men to take the field weren't the only ones going through an emotional rollercoaster during those titanic clashes of the noughties, however, and the mood around the counties involved was reflected by their fortunes inside the white lines.

Football was big business and dominated the public consciousness. "In the dominant newspapers in the north at the time, it wasn't just back page and inside back page news, it was front page and every page, it was just completely dominating people," he says.

"I know people say Gaelic football results can determine your mood on a Monday or for a week and can decide whether you're able to go into work and face your colleagues and meet your neighbours every day, genuinely it was affecting people's lives in that way.

"I went to secondary school in Newry and Down were always our traditional rivals but when that Tyrone thing started, it was a proper derby and it encapsulated everyone. Don't get me wrong a lot of it was banter but there was genuine angst between both teams."

03 August 2017/Author: Media GPA/Number of views (989)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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"Geezer took all excuses off the table in Kildare"

GPA CEO Dermot Earley looks back on Kieran McGeeney's six years with the Lilywhites

When a bright-eyed Dermot Earley crossed paths with Kieran 'Geezer' McGeeney during a Railway Cup semi-final in Casement Park in 1999, little did he know how big of an impact Armagh's 2002 All-Ireland-winning captain would have on his playing career.

The pair swapped jerseys after their duel, a piece of memorabilia GPA CEO Earley has proudly kept until this day, before teaming up to represent Ireland in the International Rules for the following two series.

Losing possession at a key moment during the second test Down Under in ’01, Earley feared the worst but quickly made amends and robbed the Australians of possession and a post-match conversation with Geezer sums up his manic intensity. 

"I was chatting him after and I was saying 'Jaysus I lost that ball and it could have been crucial, it could have decided the series' and he just shot back at me saying 'Yeah, but you got it back'. That was the sort of edge he had," Earley says.

They would reacquaint during Sarsfields' epic Leinster club semi-final trilogy with Na Fianna, with whom McGeeney played his club football when living in Dublin, later that winter but six years elapsed before they would meet again.



Geezer had barely hung up his Orchard boots when the inter-county management door knocked and Earley can vividly remember his reaction upon hearing the news from then Kildare chairman Syl Merrins.

"When Syl told me 'We have McGeeney', I nearly put the phone down straight away to ring Johnny Doyle and I said 'Johnny, Kieran McGeeney is coming to manage us'. It created a savage buzz," Earley recalls.

"One of the measures of the respect he had nationwide was that players were always wondering what he was doing because he always set the bar so high, whether it was the physical training or the way he played on the pitch. 

"You always had an interest in what was going on up in Armagh as a result. He was this mythical figure and you heard stories of him buying a load of fruit every day to give him the edge and how he was always working hard for the small percentages."


His first port of call was a team meeting in October '07, just days after Earley had been on a wrong side of a county final defeat to Newbridge rivals Moorefield but there would be no feeling sorry for himself while celebrations would cease on the other side of town. 

"Usually you'd be gone missing for three or four days after a big derby game like that but everyone wanted to see what Kieran would bring to the table so all the Moorefield and Sarsfields players were there in Newbridge on that Tuesday night," he says.

"That night he threw it back on us and asked 'Why haven't Kildare been successful to date?' There was no real answer out there but it got you thinking. From the start he demanded an awful lot of us, he demanded a lot more of his leaders.

"He'd give myself, Johnny Doyle, Killian Brennan and Rolly (Ronan) Sweeney a harder time than others because his belief was that a team should be player driven and it's the players that drive it forward. If someone steps out of line the players put him back in his place."


27 July 2017/Author: Media GPA/Number of views (1994)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Flashback Friday!

Flashback Friday! "All you could hear was the sound of hurleys beating off flesh”

Anthony Daly looks back on Clare/Tipp 20 years later


It was unheard of 20 years ago for 18,000 people to throng Cusack Park, Ennis to see Clare and Tipperary collide in a League game but the Premier's one-point win was only the start of an epic '97 trilogy.

Banner legend Anthony Daly recalls a Jekyll and Hyde spring campaign but that Saturday evening tie was earmarked by their iconic manager Ger Loughnane as they "leathered" each other with "timber flying everywhere". 

"All you could hear was the sound of hurleys beating off flesh," Daly says with a smile. "They beat us but we all felt that we came across as the men and them the boys, not that you'd ever describe Declan Ryan or John Leahy or these lads as boys. 

"But it seemed like collectively we were getting a bit stronger and that was some lead up into the championship where as fate would have, we'd meet another two times and end up playing in the first back-door All-Ireland final."

Long before their September joust was the small matter of a Munster final, however, with Clare captain Daly recollecting how Loughnane had driven them "demented" that in spite of all their achievements, that great Banner side had never beaten the Premier in a provincial decider.

Nicky English's smile after scoring a late point in their 18-point Munster final "hockeying" in 1993 was employed as a motivator to highlight Tipp's perceived lack of respect for Clare with the two-time All-Ireland-winning manager regularly saying 'do ye want them laughing at ye again?'

The training game the previous week in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney was ferocious and it had Clare ready for whatever would happen in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and they would need to be as Slieve na Mon rang out at the town end with Tipp in charge.

David Forde's goal proved the difference and during his post-match speech, Daly's emotions got the better of him as he uttered the unforgettable words that Clare were "no longer the whipping boys of Munster".

"It was pure emotion, Loughnane had us driven mad that we had to back up the '95 All-Ireland win and this would be the first major statement in it. I suppose that was just bursting out through me at the end of it," Daly says.

"It was basically us saying 'now we're letting ye know we're not going anywhere'. We've only won one since, that was the following year but it all seemed good at the time. Loughnane was driving us on but we were driving ourselves on too."

Daly cringed as he watched the aftermath of Wexford's Leinster final victory over Offaly a week later as Model skipper Rod Guiney remarked “Anthony Daly said last week that Clare were no longer the whipping boys of Munster, well we’re no longer the whipping boys of Leinster!”

Liz Howard, then Tipp PRO and future Camogie Association president, took a swipe at Daly in the programme for a Munster U-21 game asking 'where did this whipping boys come from?' before Loughnane hit back with a letter to the Clare Champion. 

It was music to the media's ears.

"Loughnane started it off as something like "Liz, or Libby as we used to call you when you lived in Feakle". She probably hadn't been called Libby since she was 10. He also wrote before the All-Irela

21 July 2017/Author: Media GPA/Number of views (2276)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Flashback Friday!

FLASHBACK: Tipperary v Armagh

FLASHBACK: Tipperary v Armagh - Quinlivan helps Premier raids the Orchard As comebacks go Tipperary's smash and grab Division 3 FL defeat of Armagh earlier this year ranks right up there with the best as star forward Michael Quinlivan banged in a second-half hat-trick to produce his very own Roy of the Rovers moment.

On the back foot throughout, the Premier's hopes of promotion lay in tatters before All-Star attacker Quinlivan stepped forward like so many times in the past to seal a famous fightback and thwart Armagh's passage to Division 2.

The Tipp maestro has a remarkable knack of bailing teams out of tight corners with late goals as his injury-time winner propelled Clonmel Commercials to a famous Munster club final win over Nemo Rangers in 2015 and this was just as dramatic.

There were just six seconds left on the clock when the towering full-forward pounced to finish a brilliant team move and raid the Orchard.

“We just don’t tend to do things the easy way, I don’t know why that is," Quinlivan said afterwards. “I met my Dad after the Armagh game and I was like, ‘Jeez, we need to stop doing this’. But he said to me, ‘no, you don’t!’

“I suppose if we can have that sort of a tag that we are never gone, or a game is never too far out of reach, then isn’t that great. We’ve given some great excitement to a lot of people over the years and hopefully we can do it again in the future.”

“Maybe it’s that we have to feel under pressure to perform or maybe we have to go so far behind that we take the pressure off ourselves. It was daylight robbery, but I suppose you create your own luck too.

"If you are on top, and Armagh were on top you kind of need to put us away. We were still in the game. Two wonder scores bring us back into contention and the goal just happens. Suddenly the final whistle is blown, we led for what? Six seconds maybe.”

In terms of excitement it was up there with the 'five-minute' All-Ireland SHC final of 1994 between Offaly and Limerick but as Quinlivan mentions, Tipperary football supporters have become well accustomed to such scenarios in recent years.

They were treated to another last weekend away to Cavan and with the odds stacked against them once again, they delivered the goods to come from behind and slay the Breffni men booking a place in the Round 3 Qualifier draw.

It's only fitting that last year's All-Ireland semi-finalists were pitted against Armagh and Kieran McGeeney's side will be gunning for revenge as they renew acquaintances in Semple Stadium on Saturday (5.0).

Hold onto your hats, when the Tipp footballers are involved you're guaranteed to be left on the edge of your seat.


14 July 2017/Author: Media GPA/Number of views (727)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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