By Mark Jones
The GAA has confirmed that New York will contest the All Ireland football championship for the first time. The association’s Central Council made the announcement last weekend and Connacht Council secretary, John Prenty, said New York would be invited to enter next year’s Connacht championship at the preliminary round stage.
Meanwhile, the GAA has also decided to retain hurling’s "back door" system for another four years. At its Special Congress in Rosslare, Co. Wexford, delegates agreed that the system, which allows the beaten Munster and Leinster finalists to qualify for the quarterfinals of the All Ireland championship, had boosted hurling’s popularity.
Only a handful of delegates — including representatives of All-Ireland champions Offaly, who benefited most from the reforms after losing last summer’s Leinster decider — voted to revert to the old system.
The association announced it was donating £250,000 to the fund for victims of the Omagh bombing.