GAA Parish Rule

Thoughts on this case?

Obviously there’s a fairly substantial argument to be made in favour of common sense but I’m all for the GAA protecting the parish rules. Going to school in the other parish should maybe count for something (hence Tomás Quinn playing for Vincents I guess) but it’s not unreasonable to impose the same rules on everyone to protect the smaller clubs.

GAA refuses rule change for boys

THE GAA last night refused a rule change that would allow two schoolboys to play football with a club outside their parish.

A two-to-one majority of Kerry County Board voted that Padraic (14) and Colin (9) O’Sullivan cannot play football with the parish where they attend school.

The brothers had sought exemption from a GAA rule which requires that people can only play for the parish they live in.

Following the vote, the boys’ mother Christine O’Sullivan vowed the issue was not over.

“How can they refuse children? It’s disgraceful. I just can’t believe they did that,” she said.

Twenty-three delegates voted in favour of a rule change, and 59 voted against.

The family had taken their fight to the High Court where the case was settled last week.

The O’Sullivans live in the parish of Firies in Co Kerry, but their children attend school in Listry, a neighbouring parish.

They claimed they were being deprived of their right to play Gaelic football because they have been told they must play for Firies GAA club – which is more than seven miles from their home in Ballytrasna, Faha, Killarney, Co Kerry. They want to play for Listry GAA club, which is just over a mile away.

The family said they never dreamed that they would be the focus of attention as the rest of the country eagerly awaited the result of this ‘test case’ on the parish rule.

“All we’re looking for is for our boys to be able to play football with their friends,” Mrs O’Sullivan said.

The boys’ father Michael told a meeting of Kerry County Board last night that he was trying to do his best for his family.

“They already train and play challenge matches with their friends in Listry, but they’re not allowed to play (on the team) with them,” he said.


“At the centre of this dispute are children who cannot understand why they can’t play football with a club where all their friends are playing – especially when others in the same situation have been given an exemption.”

Mr O’Sullivan appealed to delegates to accept his application. He said if the application was not allowed his sons would not be able to play football as they didn’t want to play with Firies.

Through their mother, the boys had sued Peter Twiss in his capacity as secretary of the Kerry County Board.

Because they live in the parish of Firies, they had been told by the county board that they must play for Firies under the GAA’s Rule 20, otherwise known as the ‘parish rule’.

Under the High Court settlement, it was agreed a new vote would be taken at a meeting of the Kerry County Committee.

Delegates at last night’s county board meeting warned that granting the derogation could open the floodgates for transfers.

Tom Kelleher, a delegate from Firies GAA, said Rule 20 had served the organisation well in stopping players from transferring to other clubs. He said the O’Sullivan family was very welcome at Firies GAA club.

  • Majella O’Sullivan

there is no parish rule in urban areas rocko

Is there not a “first club” rule, whereby if you play with a club from day 1 then you can continue to play with them (but maybe these lads played with Firies at u/8 and u/10’s?

I know there were a few lads who would technically live in another parish that played with us all the way up along because it was their first club.

Firies and Listry, ffs, if they’re going to the high court they may as well look to join a good club anyway.

There’s plenty if cases in wexford of lads at those age moving clubs or playing for clubs that aren’t in their parish. Maybe we have a softer stance on it and don’t really impose it to the degree Kerry do.

In fairness I think most clubs around the country wouldn’t object to an under 8 or under 10 playing in a different parish especially if the child was in school in that parish

Kerry people are a different breed.

That’s all I have to say.

Exactly. The KCB seem to fear this setting a precedent however. Something similar went on in Laois recently regarding one Club trying to get around the Parish Rule by arguing that the children in question were inside the parish setting laid out by the Church of Ireland. This caused some initial guffaws until they said they were serious and had to have their case listened to and the rule tightened to ensure it only refered to Catholic parish rule and no other.

I think you’ll have to say a bit more Farmer, I’m not getting you. Should the Club just lie down and let the border change and set a precedent for all other transfers. Surely they cant do that?

That’s what I would have thought. Seems a bizarre scenario that could have been managed in a much better way rather than this mess. If they let the 2 lads play then who would have batted an eyelid?

All this will do is turn two young lads off the game of gaelic football and the GAA.


You’d do well to turn a young lad off gaelic in Kerry Puke, but in other counties, yea, I could easily see that being the case.

If it means two less young fellas playing football in Kerry then that’s fine by me

Ah Kerry haven’t struck much gold in Faha yet to be fair.

Different counties have take differing approaches to it. Its tolerated in Limerick in theory bit actively discouraged. Lad joined our home club years ago but it took several years for his home club to allow the transfer to go through. Didn’t hurl at all between the ages of 12-15. Its rigidly enforced in Kilkenny. Denis Byrne had to leave the county to change club (played for Mulinahone in Tipp and for Tipp for a year or two, didn’t go down well in either county). Story told about The Hogan brothers from Danesfort in KK( Richie and Paddy), a good few years ago their mother is supposed to have gone to the Bishop to ask him to move the parish boundaty so that her sons could play senior hurling rather than junior.

Not true. It is only Dublin that doesn’t have it.

You can always go back to your home club which is where you first played a registered game.

They lose alot to soccer and the odd lad to rugby.

I believe by the way there is more to this than whats being printed.

Wexford town has no parish rule and netiher does any part of westmeath

Really? Surprised at the Westmeath one certainly, anyone can move from club to club?

Limerick doesn’t have it.