New rules are 'not good for the game,' warns O'Brien
Kildare 0-16 Carlow 1-6
Turlough O'Brien has already had enough of the new rules being trialled and the Carlow boss is adamant that they "have to go" as they are "not good for the game".
Having watched the Barrowsiders slip to successive O'Byrne Cup defeats - clocking just 0-8 and 1-6 with experimental outfits - O'Brien believes "there's a lot of confusion" among all parties involved.
It's only a matter of time before the rules are manipulated to the detriment of the game as a spectacle in his view and O'Brien feels 13-a-side football would be of greater benefit if radical changes are deemed necessary.
"I think these rules have to go lads, being honest with you. It's not good for the game. I'm not against change and I think a very simple change... people are concerned about defensive football and lack of space - make it 13-a-side and try that," he said after this defeat to Kildare in Newbridge.
"See where that goes if they want to do something about the game that they're talking about. For us, as players and managers, I think it's become very, very tactical, a very interesting game to coach and to play in but these new rules, really it's a new game, it's a different game."
Having overseen a hugely successful 2018 which yielded promotion from Division 4 and a first Leinster SFC defeat of Kildare since 1953, O'Brien believes the game is worse off after the rule changes.
"Players are very indecisive. It's very frustrating. When teams get smarter and more tuned in to it, they're going to keep possession and you're going to see someone turn around in the middle of the field and kick the ball right back to the goalkeeper.
"I'm telling ye, before this competition is out, there'll be kick-passing, 45 to 50 yards back to the goalkeeper and everyone will be giving out about it then.
"The league is the most important competition for 26 counties. Promotion or relegation could be decided on someone calling up a handpass that's not a handpass."
Kildare counterpart Cian O'Neill - whose side had just three collective training sessions under their belt with the winter training ban only allowing them to officially return on December 8 - had a different view and revealed his "excitement" with game's latest changes.
"Adaptable players and good coaching together will lead to new developments in the game. It'll just take some time to acclimatise to them so, after three sessions, the way that we did that was impressive," O'Neill said.
"I don't think any of the rules have a negative impact on how we've been trying to play anyway. It would be obviously disappointed if you're trying to change your style of play and then on January 19 they're gone."
It was promising to see the array of kick-passing on show while the limitation of three handpasses in a row seemed to speed up the game leaving less dead time between transitions but these tweaks will need some time and experimentation before final judgements can be made.
Kildare were much the slicker from start to finish with U-20 Player of the Year Jimmy Hyland showing off his array of talent with three superb first-half points, each created by an angled delivery straight to hand which led to some impressive 'offensive marks'.
That came from the aerial domination of midfielders Kevin Feely and Paul Cribbin but Hyland's impressive senior debut - particularly given the absence of star forward Daniel Flynn from their 2019 squad - was of no surprise to his manager.
"It's a hallmark of Jimmy's game, his movement, not just on the ball but off the ball. A lot of selfless runs that gets him into positions for those marks or maybe a ball that'll bounce in so he did very well. He wouldn't be the biggest man on the pitch but if you have a great brain you can do great things," O'Neill said.
Kildare played with the aid of a stiff first-half breeze in difficult conditions at St Conleth's Park and hit the ground running to race into an 0-8 to nil lead with Hyland, Ben McCormack and the returning Eoghan O'Flaherty showing an eye for goal.
McCormack was sin-binned in the first quarter but it had little effect on proceedings and Carlow didn't open their account until the 26th minute when Daniel St Ledger fired over a free in a half where they were unable to score from play.
That didn't halt Kildare's gallop, however, as O'Flaherty, McCormack and Feely helped them into an unassailable 0-11 to 0-2 half-time lead with the wind dying down significantly for the concluding half.
Carlow finally awoke from their slumber upon the resumption and Darren Lunney's 40th-minute goal gave the visitors some hope as he whipped the ball to the net from close range after a long sideline from Brendan Murphy was deftly flicked into his path by Darragh Foley.
They cut the gap to five when Brendan Murphy and Foley added points, 0-12 to 1-4, but that was as good as it got with the Lilies weathering the storm to kick the next three points and put the game to bed ahead of Thursday night's clash with Offaly.
Meanwhile, Carlow defender Conor Lawlor suffered a nasty injury towards the end which required extensive treatment and left him wearing a precautionary neck brace.
SCORERS - Kildare: N Flynn 0-6 (5f), J Hyland 0-3, B McCormack and E O'Flaherty 0-2 each, K Feely, T Moolick, C Hartley 0-1 each.
Carlow: D Lunney 1-0, D Foley 0-3f, B Murphy 0-2, D St Ledger 0-1f.
KILDARE - M Donnellan; M Dempsey, M Barrett, M Hyland; C O'Donoghue, E Doyle, K Cribbin; K Feely, P Cribbin; D Slattery, E O'Flaherty, C Hartley; J Hyland, B McCormack, N Flynn. Subs: B McCormack BC (12-22), T Moolick for Feely and P Fogarty for B McCormack (both h-t), P Nash for O'Flaherty (59), B McLoughlin for J Hyland (60), J Gibbons for Slattery (61), DJ Earley for O'Donoghue, A Tyrrell for M Dempsey, J O'Toole for M Hyland and D Malone for Hartley (all 73).
CARLOW - C Kearney; C Lawlor, S Redmond, J Murphy; K Nolan,C Crowley, D Lunney; B Murphy, S Doyle; D Moran, D Foley, C Doyle; C Crowley, D St Ledger, L Walker. Subs: R Kane for Crowley (26), J Moore for K Nolan (47), J Clarke for Kane (blood 48), E McGrath for Doyle (59), C Moran for Lowry (63), J Kennedy for Lawlor inj (73), D Thompson for C Doyle (73).
REF - G Hurley (Westmeath)