Monday 16 September 2019

McManus: Good luck trying to count handpasses

Conor McManus. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Conor McManus. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Conor McManus worries that there is "too much tinkering" with football heading into 2019 and he fears that some of the proposed rules could cost counties dearly.

The three-time All-Star sees the merit of the offensive mark and is intrigued to see how goalkeepers will develop new strategies with kick-outs set to go past their '45, but he expects the restriction on hand-passing to be problematic.

"The three-handpass rule is only going to heap pressure on referees. They have too much to be doing as it is. This will only make their job tougher. Counting handpasses? Good luck with that," McManus wrote on thesportschronicle.com.

"Think about how costly a fourth handpass may prove at the tail end of an All-Ireland semi-final. Say a referee gets the count wrong? Everything could come down to that. We are leaving the rules open to hang referees, again.

"Make their job easier, not harder. There is some logic; they are trying to encourage kicking and alleviate overly defensive systems but this is tackling the symptom rather than the actual problem.

"Let me be clear: fair play to the GAA. They recognise the game needs to be a better spectacle. They are not burying their head in the sand. We have an actual debate.

"The numbers of people watching and attending games are falling all the time. We know why. Blanket defences combined with possession football is boring."

The Clontibret ace also believes that the game's top managers will develop strategies to "manipulate" regardless of the proposed rules.

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"Managers across the board will all be asking, 'How do we manipulate the rules?' Because that's what it's all about now. You take the rule changes, you sit down, you look at what they are," he said.

"And then you figure out a way of getting the best out of them. No matter what rule is brought into Gaelic football, the best teams and cleverest tacticians are going to make it work to their advantage."

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