Tuesday 16 January 2018

Unprecedented review gives fans opportunity to shape game's future

The Football Review Committee's survey (available on frc.ie) covers a wide range of issues pertaining to Gaelic football.

Surprise has been expressed in some quarters that it extends beyond examining the rules and wanders into areas such as competition structures, time-keeping and promotion of the game.

However, the FRC has taken the view that this is an opportunity to take a holistic approach within the terms of reference provided by GAA president Liam O'Neill, who set up the committee after taking office in April.

Some of their recommendations will probably have an impact on hurling too, so it remains to be seen how small-ball enthusiasts will react to that.

Primarily, though, the emphasis is on Gaelic football and, with the FRC expecting interaction with the public to reach the 4,000 mark through the online survey, emails and letters, chairman Eugene McGee believes his committee will be extremely well-informed when they get to work on drafting the final blueprint.

The following are some of the questions raised by the FRC in their online survey, with responses from Martin Breheny.

What skills do you most like in Gaelic football?

Eleven are listed and respondents are asked to list them in order of priority.

MB: 1 Kicking; 2 Catching; 3 Goal-scoring; 4 Evasion (sidestep/ dummy); 5Long-range points; 6 Blocking; 7 Shoulder-to-shoulder tackling; 8 Correct tackling; 9 Frees kicked off the ground; 10 Frees kicked from the hands; 11 Hand-passing.

What do you dislike about Gaelic football?

Nine choices listed.

MB: 1 Overuse of hand-pass; 2 Cynical/tactical fouling; 3 Group tackling of player who is on the ground; 4 Refereeing inconsistency; 5 Disrespect for referees; 6 Time-wasting; 7 Injury-time inconsistency; 8 Over-defensive play; 9 Poor skills level.

Which changes would you introduce at senior

inter-county level?

Nine choices to be placed in order of preference.

MB: 1 Limit the hand-pass; 2 Introduce the 'mark'; 3 Clean pick-up off the ground; 4 Advantage rule; 5 Use a public time clock; 6 Use of 'sin bin'; 7 Thirteen-a-side games; 8 'Tap and Go' when fouled; 9 Two points for frees scored off the ground.

Regarding the inter-county SFC structures, would you...

A -- Leave them as they are.

B -- Introduce an open-draw format.

C -- Base them on 'provinces' of eight counties each.

D -- Suggest other option.

MB: C -- It would be much fairer all around and also help with club fixtures.

Regarding the Football League, would you...

A -- Start the competition in October.

B -- Use league results as the basis for championship seeding.

MB: Yes to an October start. The GAA is conceding a huge promotional opening to rugby and soccer in the final three months of the year while packing far too much of their programme into the first three months of the year which caters for the National Leagues, All-Ireland club semi-finals and finals, Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups, U-21 football championships and (this year at least) the inter-provincials.

No to using league results for championship seeding. Competitions should stand in their own right without influencing each other.

Irish Independent

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