Proposals Could Be Trialled in 2019

Change is coming. Apparently. Many neutrals were left somewhat underwhelmed by much of the gaelic football action this year. To be fair it occurred in a summer when the hurling was stellar.

However there is no doubting the entertainment value of gaelic football has dropped in recent years.

One inter-county game I was at resembled a Pro 14 match.

Team A incessantly recycling across the field and backwards trying to get into a scoring position, such is the possession game played today.

Then firing over 8 wides in a row!

All of this appears to be reducing the natural capacity of forwards to get scores.

Now a process is underway to decide if experimentation will take place next season in a bid to improve the game as a spectacle.

Data gathered from games going back to 2011 suggest that gaelic football is more of a handpassing game now with the average number of handpasses increasing by 100 per game in the last 7 years while kick passing has decreased.

As you might expect not everyone's warming to the idea.

Few questions arising.

  • Are you going down a rule change wormhole with then having to look ad if  the game is refereeable with one referee
  • will you need a degree in gaelic football to get up to speed on all the new rules?

The changes can be summarised thus.

Handpass - To introduce a restriction of three consecutive passes of the ball with the fist or open hand by players of the team in possession.

Sideline Kick - That the ball shall be played in a forward direction from the kick. Exception: In the case of a side-line kick being taken by an attacking player on or inside the opponents' 13m line, the ball may be kicked in any direction.

The Mark - To extend the application of the Mark to the clean catching of the ball on or inside the 20m line from a kick delivered on or beyond the 45m line without it touching the ground. In the case of a Mark being awarded to an attacking player on or inside the 20m line, the free, if availed of, shall be taken from the point on the 20m line directly in line where the Mark is awarded.

Sin-Bin - The penalty on the day for a Black Card Infraction or two yellow card infractions - an ordering off for ten minutes in a sin bin.

Kick-Out/Zoning - For a kick-out, two players only from each team shall be positioned between the two 45m lines. The goalkeeper and a maximum of six players from each team shall be behind the respective 45m lines, until the ball is kicked. The ball from the kick-out shall travel beyond the 45m line before being played by a player of the defending team.

The proposed changes will be discussed throughout October among players, coaches, referees and officials, with a view for them to be implemented on a trial basis throughout the 2019 National Leagues. If approved, they will come into effect fully in the 2020 Championship.

Is this observation a signal of more change ahead? Watch this space!