Stats quell pass storm
Statistics released from Croke Park last night shed new light on the handpass controversy that dogged the first rounds of provincial championship action last weekend, writes Colm Keys.
An in-house review of the Ulster preliminary round between Derry and Armagh in Celtic Park has revealed that just six of the 196 handpasses executed in the course of the game were adjudged by referee Maurice Deegan to be illegal under the terms of the new rules. That's less than a 3pc failure rate.
The breakdown of handpasses in the game was 118 by Derry to Armagh's 78 with four of the six frees for incorrect technique with the handpass awarded against Derry.
A review of the Kerry-Tipperary game in Munster has also revealed that the number of frees for incorrect handpasses was low by comparison to the storm that it has created with just six out of 270 deemed errant.
Referees and games officials in Croke Park are confident that the issue will die down in the weeks ahead and players and coaches will be able to adapt more to the techniques approved in the rule book as a result of Congress changes last month.
Players and managers have queued up to criticise the new handpass guidelines but the Association's Director General, Paraic Duffy, has insisted there can be no change to what was passed.