Saturday 1 October 2016

Criticism of football 'over the top', insists GAA president

Published 01/04/2015 | 02:30

O Fearghail wasn’t in the country over the weekend as a storm erupted over the way the Dublin v Derry match in Croke Park played out
O Fearghail wasn’t in the country over the weekend as a storm erupted over the way the Dublin v Derry match in Croke Park played out

New GAA president Aogan O Fearghail has described the current wave of criticism of Gaelic football as "over the top".

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O Fearghail wasn't in the country over the weekend as a storm erupted over the way the Dublin v Derry match in Croke Park played out.

The man he appointed as chairman of the GAA's Standing Rules Committee, Jarlath Burns, described the game as the "death of football" but qualified his remarks on radio yesterday morning by saying it was a time for "cool heads".

O Fearghail says that, in his position, he would always have a concern when there is criticism of the game.

"But I think people are a bit too negative with Gaelic football. I think there have been bad games, I was away at the weekend, I didn't see any. I heard there were some low-scoring games, I also heard there were some very exciting, high-scoring games. That always happens," he said.

"Next weekend is usually a defining weekend, coming to the end of the Allianz Leagues. I'd say we'll have a good opportunity to see where teams are setting up at that stage and where they're at."

Burns and his committee will have an opportunity to tease out possible solutions to the logjam that can so often impact on the spectacle of a Gaelic football match and O Fearghail says they will be left alone to do their job.

"I'm on record as saying that Gaelic football is a fantastic game and that there are far more good things in Gaelic football than negative things. Absolutely no doubt about that.

"Jarlath heads up the committee on playing rules and that's their job, that's their duty to examine and if they, in discussion and watching and coming together, come up with ideas that they feel will improve the game, absolutely, I have a very open mind on everything.

"Gaelic football is about winning when you play it at that level. It's very entertaining when you win but it's also very entertaining when you watch the skill of the players on show. Our players have tremendous skill."

O Fearghail said he would personally prefer a two-Test International Rules series but added that his main priority was promoting Gaelic games.

He said the GAA were looking at hosting the 2016 Gaelic Games World Cup in Croke Park.

Irish Independent

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