Sunday 21 October 2018

Pat Spillane: I can't help thinking that one of football's new rules was introduced to curb the influence of one man

27 August 2017; Stephen Cluxton of Dublin during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Tyrone at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
27 August 2017; Stephen Cluxton of Dublin during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Tyrone at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Pat Spillane has weighed in on the sweeping changes set to impact Gaelic football in 2018 - and says that one rule change has been introduced in an attempt to 'curb the influence' of Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton.

This season we will see the Super 8s replace the All-Ireland quarter-finals, while a condensed inter-county schedule will see a higher concentration of games, but there have been some on-pitch changes too.

Kickouts must now pass the 20m line, which rules out the short passes to corner backs that become a regular feature of the game in recent years.

One proponent of that restart was Cluxton, whose kickout success Spillane thinks has sparked the GAA authorities into action.

Writing in today's Sunday World, Spillane says:

"Being a tad cynical, I cannot help but think that this rule change was introduced in an attempt to curb the influence of Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton.

"Remember, back in the early 1980s the GAA outlawed handpassed goals and made other changes to the rules in an effort to put the brakes on Kerry's dominance of the All-Ireland championship.

"The change didn't stop Kerry from winning more All-Ireland titles and I don't see how the new rule will reduce Cluxton's influence. The simple fact is that great teams and great players can adapt."

Spillane also gave his view on the upcoming Super 8s, the new fixture schedule and the U20 and U17 championships that will be played next summer.

Read Pat Spillane's full column in today's Sunday World.

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