Saturday 15 December 2018

Rules trial should not be done in league - McEntee

Sean Cox’s wife Martina and son Jack (centre) with Meath manager Andy McEntee and players Mickey Burke, Michael Darragh-Macauley, Eric Lowndes, Colm Basquel and Seamus Lavin at Dunboyne Castle last night. Photo: Sportsfile
Sean Cox’s wife Martina and son Jack (centre) with Meath manager Andy McEntee and players Mickey Burke, Michael Darragh-Macauley, Eric Lowndes, Colm Basquel and Seamus Lavin at Dunboyne Castle last night. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Meath manager Andy McEntee has questioned the merit of experimenting with playing rules during the forthcoming football league.

The proposals go before Central Council for approval next week after the body charged with overseeing them, the Standing Committee on Playing Rules, modified a number of their original proposals.

Among those modifications is a change to the forward mark. Originally it was envisaged that it could be taken only from inside the 20m line from a kick outside the 45m line. But now it allows for a 20m kick anywhere inside the 45m line, making it easier for officials to monitor.

McEntee was speaking in Dunboyne where details of a challenge match between Meath and Dublin in Navan, on December 16, in aid of the Sean Cox Benefit Fund were announced.

"My concern about implementing these new rules in the league is that it makes the league a bit of an experiment. Are you going to take a chance and play around with a really important competition?

"I have no problem with doing it in the O'Byrne Cup or friendlies or whatever, but the league is too important for experimenting."

McEntee has given approval to some of the proposals - the sideline kick and forward mark among them. But, having watched a development challenge against Cavan in recent weeks under the proposed new rules, he can see difficulties with the handpass restriction and the modified kick-out.

"Outside the 45m, it (handpass restriction) speeds up the game but, when you get in close to goals, to create any sort of a quick movement, sometimes you need a little short handpass and three handpasses can happen very quickly in that regard.

"But you could see why they're trying to implement that rule and I could see pluses to it. I'd probably say it might be better off only applying it from 45m out. But, then again, that's adding a little bit more on to the referee."

Forcing kick-outs to cross the 45m line with no restriction on how many players can be between the two 45m lines will "backfire", according to McEntee.

"The aim of that, I presume, is to promote high fielding. The problem with that is that the opposition's forwards are all going to retreat back outside the 45. So you're going to have a crowded area out there and I suspect you'll have actually less (high fielding).

"What's the point in a forward staying inside the 45? They know a defender is not going to get it. So they'll all just come out to make sure that the opposition don't catch the ball," he pointed out.

Tickets for the benefit match went on sale earlier in the week and by yesterday more than 1,000 had already been sold. Organisers hope to raise in excess of €100,000 towards the fund's €2m target.

Cox, a former chairman of Dunboyne, is originally from Dublin and his home club is Round Towers Clondalkin, where Dublin manager Jim Gavin is also a member.

Dunboyne chairman Fergus McNulty said at the launch that "significant" funding will be required to aid Cox's recovery in a private capacity once he completes his programme in Dún Laoghaire next March.

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