KIERAN DONAGHY has predicted major officiating problems with the advanced ‘mark’ – even though the new rule appears tailor-made for the Kerry legend.
onaghy, who called time on his decorated career in green-and-gold two years ago, is still playing for Austin Stacks who opened their Kerry senior club championship campaign last weekend.
The 37-year-old plundered a first half goal as Stacks fought out an exciting 1-12 apiece with Dingle in Annascaul on Saturday evening.
But Donaghy has mixed views after being introduced to the new mark, which he lauds in principle but questions in practice.
“Look, obviously for me, it’s good that now if I do catch a ball in there, that I have the option of putting my hand up. I like the rule, but I think the outside the ‘45’ and it must be (kicked) over 20 metres is a hard one for the officials - I won’t lie,” he said.
“It happened a few times in the game last week, and I felt sorry for the ref because even I was going for the ball and not knowing was it kicked outside the ‘45’, was it just inside … I can’t see the white line on the pitch in Annascaul.
“I think linesmen will really have to be on the ball and watch where guys are kicking from for it to be successful, because where this will break down is if there’s a lot of high-profile incidents where fellas were inside the ‘45’ and the mark was given.
“The overriding thing, yeah it’s great for me if I can catch a ball – but I think it’s fierce hard for officials and I think it’s a bit unfair that they’re going to have all of this in their heads.
“Even the rule around the catching of the mark and four steps and do I put my hand up or do I play on?” he continued.
“In an All-Ireland final with ten minutes to go – I think there’ll have to be something where the game will be paused and the ref will be able to say, ‘Okay, what happened there? Was it outside the ‘45’? Is the mark good? Because it’ll be (a case of) if a few of those high-profile ones go wrong, and I can see it being binned very quickly.”
Donaghy proffered an alternative version “to keep it very simple, and if it’s a 30-metre kick from anywhere out the pitch to inside, that’s maybe easier to officiate rather than worrying about is it 20 metres when he kicked it.
“The team of officials will have to be so important. Umpires will have to be on the ball, as to whether a guy caught the ball and couldn’t get his hand up – and the obvious thing to do is give the guy the mark.
“The dynamics of the rule about kicking the ball in, I think, is good because it’s an exciting part of the game and people love to be on the edge of their seat. But I just think it’s going to be very hard to officiate.”
The 2006 Footballer of the Year, who is still starring on the basketball courts for Tralee Warriors, spied more general issues with the workability of the new rules.
“To be honest, I don’t know how much talk with the officials was put into these rules. Of course when you’re changing rules, officials should be absolutely co-ordinated. They’re the men in the middle.
“You know, there’s a high-profile enough ref down here who was reffing a challenge game with us two weeks ago and I was peppering him with questions. And even he was kind of saying, ‘Jesus, there’s so many of them, Kieran’s it’s hard.’”
EBS ambassador and Tralee Warriors basketball star, Kieran Donaghy, was speaking at today’s launch of the 2020 Federation of Irish Sport Volunteers in Sport Awards supported by EBS.