Thursday 29 September 2016

Any changes to football rules won't be radical, admits Burns

Published 13/10/2015 | 02:30

Clare hurling final man of the match, Niall Gilligan of Sixmilebridge, holds his son Michael (18 months)while being interviewed by Clare FM after the game
Clare hurling final man of the match, Niall Gilligan of Sixmilebridge, holds his son Michael (18 months)while being interviewed by Clare FM after the game

The chairman of the GAA's standing playing rules committee, Jarlath Burns, has suggested that forthcoming changes to the way Gaelic football is played will be moderate.

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The committee has been examining all aspects of the game's playing rules over the last six months and are due to finalise proposals ahead of the GAA's Management Committee meeting next month.

Burns said no proposals had been formally agreed by his committee, which includes former Kerry footballer Darragh O Se and Meath legend Sean Boylan, in addition to Cork's long-serving secretary Frank Murphy and the GAA's head of research and development, Pat Daly.

"We have one more meeting to go before that Management Committee meeting and while we have discussed much we have agreed nothing yet. There are a lot of strong opinions," he said.

"However those who are expecting radical change will be disappointed while those who are expecting no change will also be disappointed."

The committee have been analysing all the available statistics from games over the summer and have put every possible change into the mix.

But the former Armagh midfielder says he has come to accept that radical change is difficult and that counter-arguments for certain rule changes can be persuasive.

In late March he suggested that the Dublin-Derry League match - which ended 0-8 to 0-4 in the Dubs' favour - was "the death of football", a comment reflecting the obsession with mass defence and little ambition on the night, and this drew quite a response.

Burns said yesterday that any amount of rule changes will not alter a team's conviction to defend in such numbers if that's what they choose to do.

"If teams want to defend that deep they will defend that deep. A mindset change is more important than a set of rule changes," he said.

Like the Football Review Committee before them, this latest body are likely to be refrain from changes that would restrict the number of successive handpasses a team can put together and a compulsion for kick-outs to cross the 45-metre line.

But with their chairman a strong advocate of a 'mark' being awarded to a player who wins a kick-out cleanly, some variation on that is anticipated, while the inclusion of added-time for substitutions is also on the cards.

Suggested

This is something that the Central Competitions Control Committee suggested in their most recent paper on the introduction of the clock/hooter.

Meanwhile, Cian O'Neill's backroom team in Kildare has been confirmed with three former players appointed as selectors.

Brian Murphy is the outgoing U-21 manager and will be joined by Padraig Brennan and Brian Flanagan.

O'Neill came on board with Murphy for one of the years that he was involved as minor manager.

Flanagan retired from inter-county football last year because of a serious knee problem, while Brennan, a member of the 1998 and 2000 Leinster-winning squads, guided Sarsfields to a county minor title in last year.

Elsewhere, Meath football manager Mick O'Dowd could be looking at filling as many as seven vacancies in his squad as a number of seasoned players give thought to their futures.

Stephen Bray has already confirmed his retirement from inter-county football, while his Navan O'Mahony's clubmate Kevin Reilly is weighing up his options on the back of debilitating hip and Achilles injuries in recent times.

There is a question mark over one of the most progressive players in the county, Brian Menton, for 2016 with indications that he may not be available.

The indications are that a further quartet of players who were peripheral for much of the 2015 campaign - Shane O'Rourke, Damien Carroll, Jamie Queeney and David Bray - will not be part of the squad next season.

Irish Independent

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