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Ladies game must tackle ‘contact’ issue, insists Dublin boss Mick Bohan

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Máire Ní Bhraonáin of TG4 and Orlagh Lally of Meath with the Brendan Martin Cup and players from the Intermediate, Junior and Senior Championships, from left, Róisín Ambrose of Limerick, Karen McGrath of Waterford, Olivia Divilly of Galway, Jennifer Dunne of Dublin, Niamh O'Neill of Tyrone, Susanne White of Donegal, Clíodhna Ní Shé of Carlow and Clare Owens of Leitrim at the Knowth megalithic passage-tomb site in Co Meath

Máire Ní Bhraonáin of TG4 and Orlagh Lally of Meath with the Brendan Martin Cup and players from the Intermediate, Junior and Senior Championships, from left, Róisín Ambrose of Limerick, Karen McGrath of Waterford, Olivia Divilly of Galway, Jennifer Dunne of Dublin, Niamh O'Neill of Tyrone, Susanne White of Donegal, Clíodhna Ní Shé of Carlow and Clare Owens of Leitrim at the Knowth megalithic passage-tomb site in Co Meath

Máire Ní Bhraonáin of TG4 and Orlagh Lally of Meath with the Brendan Martin Cup and players from the Intermediate, Junior and Senior Championships, from left, Róisín Ambrose of Limerick, Karen McGrath of Waterford, Olivia Divilly of Galway, Jennifer Dunne of Dublin, Niamh O'Neill of Tyrone, Susanne White of Donegal, Clíodhna Ní Shé of Carlow and Clare Owens of Leitrim at the Knowth megalithic passage-tomb site in Co Meath

Dublin manager Mick Bohan has called for greater clarity around the refereeing of the tackle in ladies football.

Speaking at the launch of the 2022 All-Ireland championships, where TG4 announced a five-year extension of their sponsorship, Bohan said that the game needs to move to keep pace with the enhanced conditioning of players has rocketed in recent years.

“I’ve said this as of the last five years,” said the Dublin boss. “If we’re allowing contact, we’re allowing contact – for everybody. I certainly feel there’s more contact ... the game isn’t the same as it was a decade ago,” he explained.

“I think back to the last time I was involved in 2003, I even looked at old pictures and the jerseys (are) hanging off them. They look like babies.

“When I look at them at training, the condition they’re in ... we want them to go out there and play at 100 miles per hour, and the minute there’s a bit of contact, there’s a free? It just doesn’t make sense. And it’s frustrating.

“It doesn’t have to be a major change. I understand that people don’t want it the same as the lads’ game. I don’t want to see it the same as the lads’ game, and I think at the moment, with the mass defence and all of that – and if you’re particularly physically strong, it’s very difficult to break those down – I don’t want to see the game go like that. It’s fast and it’s furious, but there has to be some amount of contact allowed. I just think we need to look at it a little bit better.”

Bohan and Dublin are shaping up for another showdown with Meath in the Leinster final on Saturday.

Dublin won when the sides met in the league in Navan earlier this year but the Royals turned that result around in Parnell Park in the group stage of the Leinster Championship in what is fast becoming the game’s most engaging rivalry.

As it’s the curtain-raiser to the men’s Leinster final between Kildare and Dublin, allowance has been made for the possibility of extra-time and penalties, so there’s a full two-and-a-half hours between the throw-in times.

“I’ve mixed views on it,” relayed Bohan. “First of all, the game is on at 2.30, and the second game is at 5.0. Unless you are the diehard, you won’t be there. I know there’s the talk about extra-time and all that but ... I’d prefer to see the five kicks immediately, and have the gap tightened.

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“At the end of the day, it’s a provincial final, but there’s bigger games to come. As regards the double-header itself, all those things are important in closing the gap. People are always delighted to get an opportunity to play in Croke Park, but you still want to play there with a crowd. I just think that could have been done a bit better.”


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