Thursday 22 February 2018

Byrne's long-distance plan worth a shot

Dublin's avid Byrne. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Dublin's avid Byrne. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile newsdesk

Dublin's David Byrne offered an interesting view on how to improve Gaelic football in the programme for last Sunday's clash with Monaghan.

In response to the question 'if you had the power to change one rule, what would it be and why', the Naomh Olaf defender replied: 'two points for a score from outside the '45'.

Byrne didn't elaborate on the reasons, though there will be suspicions that as a member of the full-back line union he wants to encourage players to shoot from far out, thereby reducing the pressure on his ilk close to goal. Still, it's a thought-provoking suggestion. Retreating in large numbers behind the '45 has become so ingrained in the modern game that it often happens as early as the first minute.

It's based on the high probability that the attacking team won't shoot for goal unless they can work the ball closer than 35-40 metres. And with space so tight in that area, it's difficult to create room for a shot.

Attackers will rarely shoot from outside the '45, regarding it as a risky use of possession. However, if two points were awarded for a long-distance score, it would greatly increase the incentive.

It would also make it more demanding for the defending team, as instead of flooding behind the '45, they would need to mark further out, thereby increasing space closer to goal. Byrne's idea has merit.

Irish Independent

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