Counihan calls for rules debate
Cork football manager Conor Counihan has expressed disappointment that more managers and players weren't consulted on the new playing rules that go on trial around the country as refixed provincial games kick-start the new season in earnest.
Counihan believes the experimental rules would have a greater chance of working if all existing managers were properly consulted and more players were also given a voice in the process. But convening select committees by invitation and not throwing the consultative process open to more invites negativity towards them, says Counihan.
"I know this is a year for rule changes, but that in itself is a strange situation to be tied to. If playing rules need changing, and there is a consensus on that, then they should be changed," he said.
"But experimenting with the league for a second successive season, I feel, is diminishing the product in a way. I feel there should have been greater consultation on this. If all managers were contacted and were brought on board they would have a better chance of succeeding."
Counihan accepts that change in management is common and that new managers have more to be doing than concerning themselves about potential rule changes.
"Still, if 60 or 70pc of managers made their presence felt with possibly a player representative and a consensus was taken, they would be easier to implement.
"I'm disappointed there are more rule changes on us, to be honest. I'm open to change, I'm open to seeing what they're like, but so soon after last year's experiment, I'm not so sure."
Counihan's comments come as the GAA issued clarification on the 'mark', which entitles a player to a free-kick when a kick-out is caught cleanly between the two 45m lines.
The understanding was that the 'mark' or free-kick had to be taken whether it was the preferred option of the catcher or not, but a clarification from Croke Park yesterday now indicates that the player in possession has the option of continuing on as normal.
The clarification gives referees the power to wave play on if a player makes a 'mark' and does not seek to take his free-kick, but once the referee allows play to continue he cannot reverse that decision then and award a free.
An experimental adjustment is also being made to the 'advantage' rule that will see a referee signal the advantage by means of a raised/extended arm.
"He (the referee) shall signal that advantage is being played by means of a raised/extended arm."
The purpose of this proposed amendment is to provide a standardised, common signal which will be used by all referees, and which will be visible to, and understood by, spectators and players alike.
Counihan and his management team have yet to make a decision on naming a Rebel captain for the upcoming season, but he admitted yesterday that it was "unlikely" to be a change from current skipper Graham Canty.
There was also a welcome for Eoin Cadogan's decision to try both codes and an acceptance that they would do everything to facilitate the Douglas man.
"Both managements have had a discussion and we're happy to run with it. Eoin proved last year what an addition he was to us when he joined. It's a challenge for him," he said.