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Cooney plea: Give tap a go

GAA president Christy Cooney has called on inter-county managers to embrace the 'tap and go' rule trial after it was slammed by Mickey Harte as "off the wall".

Cooney plans to trial the idea in non-competitive games in the New Year to assess its suitability but Tyrone manager Harte has already made up his mind describing the proposal as "detrimental".

The GAA president, responding to the remarks, said that the idea should be tried and assessed before it is kicked into touch.

"This has been blown out of proportion. We're looking at an option to keep the game flowing, of stopping unnecessary fouling and slowing the game when the free is due," he said.

"So we're looking at this idea but no decision has been made.

"We're looking at a 'tap and go' situation to see will it work, what type of penalties we should impose, what effect it will have on a team, and we haven't even made a decision on it.

"We're going to try it out and see if it works.

"If it'll improve the game, if it'll cut down on fouling, if it'll create more scores and a more free-flowing game, which we all want, great.

"We're going to try in the new year."

The issue of cynical fouling and cynical tactics has dogged Gaelic games in recent years and Cooney believes a fair solution must be found.

"There's a genuine concern that there's a massive blockage in play when a player is fouled, the other player stands in front of him, they move it up 10 yards and the question is: Is that sufficient to keep the game flowing?" he added.

Meanwhile, Cooney went on to say that the All-Ireland club finals will not be switched from St Patrick's Day as the fixtures coincide with Ireland's Six Nations clash with England at Twickenham. "We won't be putting off our club finals. It's a special day for our clubs and there'll be no change in that," he said.

Responding to revelations that a number of county boards find themselves in significant financial trouble, Cooney issued a stark warning: "If you haven't got it, you can't spend it."

The GAA's financial committee will meet with representatives of every county in the coming months to discuss the worsening financial situation for many county boards across the country.

"A number of county boards have challenges, I'm very concerned," Cooney said.

"County boards have responsibilities for managing their own finances and I've repeated this at Congress in my last two addresses.

"You don't spend what you haven't got and if you do spend over it, make sure you can manage to repay it if you're in a loan situation.

"What we're clearly saying to our counties is manage your finances. There's a structure there to talk about and manage inter-county team expenses.

"You sit down with the county board representatives and the players group at the start of the year and outline what's available and what you can do.

"We're not in a position to bail out and we're not going to bail them out.

"I support what (Leinster chairman) Martin Skelly said last week that counties have to manage their affairs and we're saying that continuously to counties -- manage your affairs, keep within your budgets, don't overspend."