Tuesday 24 January 2017

Colm Parkinson: Let's not hang the 'mark' without giving it a fair trial

Colm Parkinson

Published 02/03/2016 | 02:30

Michael Darragh Macauley tweeted: “Dear GAA, Stop messing with the rules, Kind regards, Everyone” (SPORTSFILE)
Michael Darragh Macauley tweeted: “Dear GAA, Stop messing with the rules, Kind regards, Everyone” (SPORTSFILE)

I'd love to say the negative reaction to the introduction of the 'mark' has been surprising but this is the GAA we're talking about. Even the smallest change from the norm ties some members up in knots.

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The mark is such an insignificant rule change that will have little bearing on how the game is played. It might, just might, encourage goalkeepers to go long to midfield a little more than they currently do. I really don't see the harm in that.

If a team manager doesn't want to use the mark and continue to go short with kick-outs, they are more than entitled to do so.

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher said on Sunday: "I wouldn't agree with it at all. You could say it's rewarding high fielding."

Yes Rory, you could definitely say it is rewarding high fielding.

He continued: "Why should we isolate one skill in comparison to others? There's wonderful skills in blocking and attacking, kick-passing and frees off the ground. Just let the game evolve."

Impact

All skills should be encouraged, Rory. The new rule will not negatively impact on any other skill already in the game.

Michael Darragh Macauley tweeted: "Dear GAA, Stop messing with the rules, Kind regards, Everyone". Not noted for his fielding, MDMA's level of self-importance means he can speak on behalf of everyone.

Ciarán Whelan said: "The modern-day goalkeeper now tries to find someone in space. The modern-day inter-county goalkeeper will not be playing if he's not going to find someone in space". But they can still find players in space, Ciarán.

Some of the more reasoned reaction from Aidan O'Shea and Alan Brogan called for a trial first. It has been trialled before though so the experiment has been done.

Why can't we all see what happens and then decide on whether the mark is a worthwhile rule change or a disaster. Of course that wouldn't be the GAA way.

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