Monday 19 August 2019

Tompkins: GAA blew chance to make football great again


Tompkins: "A few simple rule changes would make a huge difference." Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Despite the negativity towards the more far-reaching football rule changes trialled in pre-season and in this year's League, former Cork All-Ireland winning captain and manager Larry Tompkins believes the GAA needs to undertake an urgent review as soon as possible.

"A great chance to make the game more entertaining was lost. A few simple rule changes would make a huge difference. They're badly needed and that's obvious from what we've seen in the Championship," he said.

Using patrons in his pub in Cork city - locals and visitors - as a gauge of public opinion, he said the interest in watching football had waned, whereas hurling was booming.

"Everyone is into hurling because it's so exciting, but only certain football games attract anything like the same level of interest. The GAA is competing with other sports for the public's attention, but much of the football you see now is awful.

"It's not the players' fault - they're still first class - but the way the game has gone and the way the rules have allowed it to become so boring is shocking, especially when a few simple changes would change a lot.

"Have all kick-outs cross the '45', insist that backs and forwards are inside the '45' for the kick-out, ban the pass back to the goalie and have all shots at goal from frees taken from the ground. They're small changes, but they would make a big difference.

"Soccer banned goalkeepers from taking back passes into their hands and look at the difference that made. Allowing back passes to the goalie in football is ridiculous.

"It means that near the end of a game a team with a few points lead can close it out by holding possession using the goalkeeper. Who wants to see that? And who wants to see short kick-outs, followed by endless handpassing," he said.

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