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Colm Parkinson: Harte's logic shows up need for changes to rules of football

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Dublin manager Jim Gavin in conversation with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

Dublin manager Jim Gavin in conversation with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

SPORTSFILE

Dublin manager Jim Gavin in conversation with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

Watching the Dublin-Tyrone game in Croke Park on Saturday night, I felt bored. Bored and frustrated. What's passing for Gaelic football now has changed dramatically from when I played not so long ago.

Putting 15 men behind the ball is now being called good defending. Mickey Harte said after the game that "people don't give defenders credit for defending with discipline. That's good to see as well."

Don't be fooled into thinking 15 men behind the ball, inside the 45-metre line, is good defending. It's not. I could coach the Leinster rugby team to retreat inside the 45-metre line and prevent Dublin from scoring. Would the Leinster players then be classed as good Gaelic football defenders?

Harte went on to say: "In Premiership soccer - I know teams have 11-a-side - but sure how often do teams have everybody behind the ball, make a break and score?"

Comparing Gaelic football to soccer is truly depressing. I'm a big soccer fan but the beauty of Gaelic football is that it's nothing like soccer. We are losing the traditional skills of the game and it's being camouflaged behind the game 'evolving'.

Evolving into what exactly? A counter-attacking game where both teams defend with 15 and send seven into attack? No thanks. This is not an attack on Tyrone or Mickey Harte, they are playing within the rules. However, rule changes are needed ASAP to put some structure back on that game and bring back some of the traditional shape.

All sports tinker with their rules to make them more exciting. Where would basketball be without the shot clock and soccer without the offside rule?

Limit the handpass, ensure full-forward and full-back lines cannot move outside the 45-metre line or even the introduction of a mark are options that would help.

I've defended teams', and managers', right to play defensively if the opposition is more talented, but not to the extent that I saw on Saturday night.

Irish Independent