Tuesday 20 August 2019

Note to Jarlath Burns: don't pass the buck on the back-pass

Jarlath Burns should take a stand on the back-pass
Jarlath Burns should take a stand on the back-pass
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Three times in the space of a minute in the closing stages of last Sunday's Dublin county football final, Ballyboden-St Enda's played the ball back to goalkeeper Paul Durcan.

Since they were defending a lead and coming under pressure from St Vincent's, it was a sensible course of action, albeit one that did little for the entertainment value.

Using the goalkeeper as a release valve has become increasingly common in football, with passes often being sprayed back from quite lengthy distances.

Soccer long since decided to restrict the backpass so that the goalkeeper can use his feet only while rugby doesn't allow a player to take the ball back inside his '22' deliberately in order to gain an advantage with a kick to touch. Surely, it's time to act on back-passing in football. A proposal to that effect was shot down at Congress this year but Jarlath Burns is currently heading a rules examination committee.

There's one for him to take a stand on. Spectators will thank him for it.

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