Wednesday 23 October 2019

'They were shouting at me to kick it' - Laois star John O'Loughlin on being the first victim of the new handpass rule

John O’Loughlin. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
John O’Loughlin. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Laois star John O'Loughlin wants players and coaches to give proposed new rules in gaelic football a chance, even though he was the first ever player to fall victim to the new handpass law in a competitive game

The Laois midfielder fell foul of the rule limiting consecutive hand passing to three in the opening moments of their O'Byrne Cup defeat to Meath on Saturday.

"The habit of playing football for the past 20 years, you don't think you're going to get pulled up on something like that," he told Off The Ball AM.

"In the first half on Saturday it happened a few times where there was a flowing move and the fourth handpass stopped that move.

"It's something we have to get used to and that's it.

"I think a few lads were shouting at me, 'You have to kick' but I didn't listen obviously and the ref was counting and I was pulled up for a fourth handpass."

O'Loughlin, who plays his club football for St Brigid's in Dublin, feels the rule will result in a lot of kickpassing in games.

"I think there will be a lot more kickpassing before you get to the third handpass. I think any time a guy gets a ball he's going to look up with the intention of kicking the ball because if you let it get to three too often, you are going to be under pressure."

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He's in favour of the sideline rule, which means the ball must travel forwards or sideways but not back, and think the offensive mark could be useful but warned that it could lead to teams dropping players back to guard against it which could limit goal chances.

On the new rules, that will be in force for the pre-season competitions and the league, he said: "It is what it is, why make excuses? They're in. If we start making excuses you are going to limit yourself on the pitch.

"From my perspective, for the next couple of weeks I'll adapt myself as much as I can to the new rules, try and benefit the team in any way I can and give them a chance.

"There is a culture in the GAA... we like giving out about things. The championship last year, a lot of aspects of it were not favourable to the spectators. They are trying to do something about it now and we'll see how it works."

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