Wednesday 21 March 2018

Experimental rules take serious hit

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

THE experimental rules which have been in operation since the start of the year took a heavy hit last night with several being thrown out at last night's opening session of the GAA's Congress in Newcastle.

The proposals to replace the open hand pass with the fist pass in football, the introduction of the 'mark', the change in the 'square ball' rule and the new method of ending games were all shot down. However, delegates voted in favour of having penalties taken from the 11 rather than 13-metre range.

Cork's Frank Murphy led the opposition to allowing players into the small square ahead of the ball, arguing that the existing rule had served football well over the years.

The motions taken last night referred to football only.

On a broader issue, Congress decided to reduce the size of senior inter-county panels from 30 to 26.

Earlier delegates were warned that Croke Park could be hit by a major tragedy similar to Hillsborough or Heysel unless pitch invasions are brought to an end.

Con Hogan, who chaired a ground safety review, said that it was, "quite literally a matter of life and death." He presented a video on the serious dangers caused by pitch invasions and made a plea to delegates to return to their counties with the message that it was time for change.

It was also stated that if pitch invasions could not be prevented through co-operation, it may be necessary to ask the government to legislate on the issue.

Meanwhile, Kilkenny veteran Michael Kavanagh returns to the starting line-up for his first appearance of the season against Waterford tomorrow. The seven-time All-Ireland winner had been rested so far after leading St Lachtain's to an All-Ireland title.


Irish Independent

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