Sport Gaelic Football

Saturday 16 December 2017

McGeeney in twist over foul 'half-rules'

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kieran McGeeney is losing faith in his ability to coach because of what he claims are recurring inconsistencies from referees.

McGeeney cut a frustrated figure in the wake of Kildare's narrow victory over Westmeath on Sunday, claiming he has given up telling his players how to tackle because of different rule interpretations.

McGeeney has compared some of the foul play that earns yellow cards to the popular television programme 'Dancing On Ice'.

The former Armagh captain is painfully aware that he has been beating this drum for some time and doesn't want to be seen as landing cheap shots.

"I give up. I just think the whole thing is ridiculous. Sorry, I just do. I can't coach. I can't say if you do this every week you won't be blown up. You can't say that. You can't. It's just impossible. You can't say if you tackle like this, you won't get blown up.

"Daryl Flynn made a great tackle in one of the first games; a full-length tackle, flicked it off a fella's toe, fell afterwards and he got a yellow card.

"I watched the Down-Armagh game -- the amount of yellow cards (11 in total) and there wasn't a hard tackle in the bloody game.

"People will read the newspapers and say 'McGeeney is talking about referees again', but everyone agrees with me. It's a game of half-rules. I remember an Aussie Rules referee saying that to me and he's right. One week it's a free, one week it's not. I don't understand it. I know I've been around many years but I still can't grasp it."

McGeeney has praised hurlers for a different mentality when it came to attempting to win frees.

"I can't coach players to do that. I can't tell them to dive to win free kicks. That's the way Gaelic football is played now but I can't coach it. Coaches should be coaching that and maybe I'm not doing my job but I just don't like it.

"You look at hurling and it's basically the same rules but they're a different set of players. They look at it differently. They don't like going down, they don't like holding an arm to pull someone down (to win a free).

"You look at the amount of head-high challenges there are supposed to be in Gaelic football and yet nobody ever gets hurt. You would think if you would hit someone across the throat that they wouldn't get up.

"The amount of times it seemingly happens in Gaelic football, but once you slow it down you see it isn't. It's like 'Dancing On Ice'," he suggested.

Irish Independent

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