Thursday 14 December 2017

Colm O'Rourke: Transformation of game must kick in at juvenile level

A limit on using the handpass is vital for the future of football, says Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

W hat happened at Congress this weekend in regard to playing rules is largely irrelevant if a vision of what Gaelic football should be is not set out in advance. If there is not some general agreement on what the game is supposed to represent, then rule changes are merely window dressing.

The best example of this was the attempt to introduce a fisted pass instead of a hand pass. I presume the thinking behind it, which I agreed with by the way, was not alone to make it easier for referees to distinguish between legitimate striking with the hand and throws but it also might encourage a bit more kicking. Well, if that was the case, then it has been a failure.

According to PJ McGrath's research, the ratio of hand passes to kicks is still running at about four to one. What this means is that if we ever want to see a game of football again where the majority of passes are by the foot then a much more radical approach is needed.

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