Sport Gaelic Football

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Maor uisce to be sidelined

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Need some water? Go fetch it yourself, writes Martin Breheny.

That's the scenario facing GAA players if a proposal from Croke Park is accepted.

A ban on water-carriers running onto the pitch is being sought by the Competitions Control Committee (CCC) in an attempt to reduce the amount of traffic intruding onto the playing area.

Up to now, three water-carriers per team were allowed, leading to the possibility of six extra bodies dashing onto the pitch at any one time.

That was regarded as unsightly and occasionally provocative. Indeed, there were occasions when water-carriers became involved in incidents with opposing players.

Under the new proposal, the number of water-carriers will be increased to four but they must remain on the sideline while thirsty player visit them.

It's a proposal that's likely to meet with opposition among players, especially from those in central positions, who would have to make a fairly lengthy journey for a refreshing top-up.

Managers are facing new restrictions too, with a proposal to prevent them standing just behind the sideline, as has always been the case. Instead, it's planned to have a second line a metre back from the sideline, behind which the managers would operate.

The change is designed to make life easier for linesmen, who regularly have to run behind managers, many of whom like to have their toes parked firmly on the sideline as they study the unfolding action.

If the CCC plan is adopted the linesmen will have a special lane to themselves with managers further back.

Managers were informed of the CCC proposals at a meeting with Croke Park officials on Tuesday night and were apparently less than impressed by the restrictions.

It now remains to be seen if CCC presses on with the proposals, which are designed to improve overall presentation of games.

Irish Independent

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