Friday 24 March 2017

Harte back on warpath as hand-pass rule change comes in 'under radar'

Daragh Conchir

Tyrone manager, Mickey Harte, has accused the GAA of muddying the waters even further by changing the hand-pass rule once again.

Harte was a vocal opponent of the experiment tried out in the league whereby players could only use a closed fist, rather than an open palm.

While that proposed alteration was rejected at Congress, the adoption of a motion demanding that a fisted pass or a hand-pass be underhand only, with the over-hand option no longer allowed, has not met with Harte's approval.

"The specific wording of difference 'underhand' seems quite appropriate in this case," he said yesterday. "For players and coaches, this is a significant change in the playing rules and has been introduced totally under the radar.

"With the other proposed changes played out under a continuous glare of publicity (in the league), it is less than satisfactory that this significant departure will be foisted upon players with virtually no alert buttons being pressed.

"Legislators may argue that this information is disseminated to the relevant county board personnel and that it is their responsibility to make it know to player and managers.

"However, most other significant changes seem to make their way to the national and provincial journals, and into the general public domain through the various media outlets. Why not this one?"

The Tyrone boss added that he had been told the matter had been brought specifically to the attention of referees, and wondered why the same courtesy had not been afforded to players and coaches.

"Ultimately I believe this is a flawed decision," he continued. "In practical terms, this amendment is removing a skill (the open-hand, overhand pass) from the game -- with neither experiment nor public debate -- a skill modern-day players use regularly.

"Many players are only going to find out about this rule change when the referees blow them up for it in the coming weeks. For some, it will have been the third version of this rule that they have had to deal with, and it is still only mid May."

Irish Independent

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