Duffy rules out major changes
Sweeping changes to the playing rules of Gaelic football are not on the cards with the standing rules committee who held their first meeting last last week, it has emerged.
Despite calls from some high-profile figures in the game for a restriction on the number of handpasses a team can put together in one sequence, radical change in the first year of this committee is not anticipated.
Donegal's 242 handpasses in the All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin, allied to high numbers from Kerry in their most recent games, have brought the use of the handpass into focus.
The committee, which features Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody, Kildare football manager Kieran McGeeney, Dublin minor football manager Dessie Farrell, on behalf of the GPA, and Donal Og Cusack, the Cork goalkeeper, who is also representing players, referees' chief Mick Curley and a host of GAA administrators, will have another meeting in two weeks' time.
There is the option of a third meeting prior to November's Central Council gathering when motions for playing rules changes will have to be submitted.
But GAA director general Paraic Duffy outlined yesterday that because this was now a permanent committee, they would be able to take a broader view of issues that need to be addressed from year to year.
"This is a standing committee. It's not going to disappear, so time can be taken with any issues that need addressing. I wouldn't expect huge change, if that's what people think is coming," he said.
The only significant change is likely to focus on abolishing the square ball rule, or modifying it so that some of the controversies that emerged over the last few summers can be avoided.
No playing rule changes proposed and passed will be trialled, but they will instead go forward to Congress next April for ratification.
Meanwhile, the GAA could record a slight increase in attendance figures from last year on the back of stronger than expected league crowds. Dublin's Spring Series should help to keep figures in line with 2010 figures -- or even surpass them -- Duffy said yesterday. If that is the case it would be a significant result for the association, even if gate revenues will be down.
"The numbers coming in to the games are far more important than the revenues and from that point of we'd be very satisfied.
"Dublin's Spring Series has probably got the numbers up, but some of the provincial championship games showed a decrease."