Thursday 14 December 2017

O'Mahony predicts 'a lot of confusion' over new experimental rules

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Mayo manager John O'Mahony has predicted confusion over the implementation of some of the new playing rules that go under experiment in the early part of the season.

O'Mahony is willing to give the rules a fair chance to see how they work out but after a weekend internal practice match he is more sceptical about what he saw.

O'Mahony believes the execution of the hand pass and the taking of the mark when a kick-out is caught cleanly between the two '45s' will provide extra burdens on referees that they could do without.

"I'd predict a lot of confusion over the fist pass in the early weeks," he said.

"On paper they look fine but in operation I'd see some confusion. Again I'd stress I haven't seen enough to make a determined judgment but I'd wonder about the mark.

"If a goalkeeper can perfect a quick, accurate kick-out to a player on the wing, will it not slow the game and the team in possession down if he has to stop, take a run back and take a free?" O'Mahony wondered.

O'Mahony also indicated that he felt the new square-ball ruling will make it harder on referees to police; not easier, as the intention is.

Leading football referee Pat McEnaney took charge of a challenge match between Louth and Meath on Sunday and feels the provision of the mark from a clean catch from a kick-out could end up being counter productive to what is intended.

"The intention is to improve the conditions for the high catch but it could actually lead to opponents attempting to break more ball from kick-outs instead," McEnaney said.

McEnaney said the new fist pass would take some getting used to for players and admitted he was strict in his application of it in the Louth-Meath match on Sunday.

"I'd be interested in seeing how they develop," McEnaney continued. "The hand pass is worth sticking with and I'm glad from our point of view that the double bounce has been addressed."

Mayo have finalised a squad for the upcoming FBD Connacht league matches - which begins with a clash against NUIG on Sunday - with 2008 All-Ireland minor finalists Robert Hennelly, Shane Nally and Kevin Keane all joining recent AFL trialist Aidan O'Shea in a 26-man squad.

Mayo must do without Alan Dillon and Conor Mortimer, who are currently touring Australia and New Zealand and are not scheduled to return until the middle of February, ruling them out of the first two league matches at least.

In addition, O'Mahony's squad selections have been hampered by some long-term injury concerns. Aidan Kilcoyne still has not sufficiently recovered from the shoulder injury he sustained against Meath in the All-Ireland quarter-final last August and which he subsequently aggravated in the Mayo club championship.

Promising full-back Ger Cafferkey slipped on ice over the festive period and broke a bone in his hand, according to O'Mahony, which will rule him out, while Tom Cunniffe is also laid up.

A further problem for Mayo comes from several players being college tied.

Mayo (squad for Connacht League) -- D Clarke R Hennelly L O'Malley, D Vaughan, K Higgins, P Gardiner, T Howley, C Barrett, A Moran, A Feeney, S Nally, L Keegan, K Keane, R McGarrity T Parsons, B Kelly, P Harte, T Mortimer, M Ronaldson, M Sweeney, A O'Shea, N Douglas, G McDonagh, B Moran, J Killeen, K Walsh.

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