The annual rules convention of the New York GAA took place last Sunday at the Riverdale Steak-house. While the draft of rules for discussion was 21 long at the outset, the manner in which they were dealt, with Frank Brady from Lietrim in the chair, was tame to say the least. With nothing earth shattering on the agenda, Brady ran the afternoon smoothly to its conclusion, with just a tweaking of the rules taking place. Three items of real consequence were passed. The hurlers of New York felt that the new field with its substantial size increase could easily cater for 15 a side hurling, and that rule was passed. With player availability on the down side in recent years, it bodes well that all four senior hurling clubs feel that they will have no trouble filling the extra four slots on the field of play. Ironically, Sligo football club had for what seems like the umpteenth time in a row a motion in where football would go to 13 a side. That was defeated without any fuss. The schedule for the coming year got a lot easier for all the clubs involved as a motion was passed that a full season's list of games would be produced. "A complete schedule which details each fixture, location and date will be available to all clubs prior too the start of the season" was its official wording. It will also include umpires for each game that will bring accountability from all sides, and will allow teams to set up easily around their season. Not the first time this would be available, as it was produced five years past and worked tremendously. The schedule chairman John Larkin will have a busy March as a result, but it should set the year up for him and the clubs as one that can run smoothly to fruition. The last item of real significance was a rule that produced some debate in regard to 60 day sanctions. They will not be required to have an official New York ID for their first game in New York, and instead will be allowed to produce their passport to the officer of the day or chairman. This will give them legality for lining out in that first contest. They will have to have registered with the board by the time their second game arrives. Not to hard to get two pictures and have ID cards in place if the schedule is in place for the year, and this was carried almost unanimously. Some other items passed nonchalantly. The amount of sanctions from Ireland stays at six. This would have had to been ratified by Dublin if it had passed here. A delegate must attend at least 20 meetings to be allowed to vote at annual election of officers. A roll call will be held at each meeting to log attendance. A motion to elect the Central Council delegate each year was defeated 17 votes to eight. The delegate will remain the chairman of the board. A senior team dropping from that division to the juniors will not be allowed to go to the Junior B division; it must come down to the A division. Some rules pertaining to penalties also came up for discussion, with the penalty for playing an illegal player changing to the following - loss of game. Penalty to player suspension for the player for the remainder of all of his teams playing season. A player who strikes with a fist will get a minimum of one game; the old rule was three games. Affiliation for a new team goes back to $1,000; no one could really state when it got changed to the old $100. After April 1 all players must show a New York ID card when asked to by a board officer. Penalty is loss of game. Two items related to the games themselves, in the event of a tie and overtime being required - two 10 minute halves will be played. That is for all codes. If you happen to be officiating that contest, or indeed any other contest, your pocket got a little bit heavier as the men in black received a 70% pay increase per contest. Paddy Gormley, who is the development officer, can provide the amount when he signs people up to ref games in the coming season. The association is always looking for new men or women in the middle, and an observer from Ireland was brought out last summer to help assess the present panel of refs. It was a quick convention then, with business taken care of efficiently and in a timely fashion. On the field of play, the New York Collegiate team had their trip to Birmingham pushed back for a week due to snow across the Midlands of England. They now are set to travel on Thursday night, February 12, with the competition going ahead on Saturday the 14th. The wives and girlfriends will be asked for forgiveness for missing out on Valentine's Day functions, but if the Plate Championship arrives back next week to New York that may help! With the New York Senior Football squad set to train this week with the College side as they prepare for the arrival of the Kerry champions Mid-Kerry next week, the season is getting ready to start again in full swing. As the Minor Board Dance was commencing on Saturday night some very sad news arrived. Mary Cox, who was the wife of John the long time New York board officer, and sister of Donie O'Sullivan, who has held a host of positions over the years, passed away. She was a wonderful lady who worked tirelessly with the Minor Board, Senior Board, the Celtics and of course Roscommon. Always a smile and an hello. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Cox and O'Sullivan families. May she rest in peace. 7