Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Game must move with the times

In the matchday programme for the 1987 Munster final between Cork and Kerry, a page is given over to the thoughts of Jack Mahon, then Chairman of the Galway football board.

He asks some faintly puzzling questions about RTÉ having too much freedom of what is broadcast [after footage of Mick O'Dwyer congratulating the Dublin team in their dressing room after the National League final], and another about scrapping competition between children, right up to college and vocational schools level.

After another moan about the nature and amount of coverage given to Gaelic games, his fourth point lands right on the money.

He writes, 'I used to think that Gaelic football played in the past was way ahead of today's game. Now I'm not so sure.

'There is very little continuity today. But it is a much faster game with a wider range of skills. Perhaps not as much high catching or long kicking. Recently, I saw a replay on telly of the '66 final between Meath and Galway. It looked pathetic in many ways by today's standards.'

Now, we are not hunting around for a viewpoint that agrees with our own, but imagine how much faster the game became when frees were permitted to be taken out of the hand a couple of years after this was penned?

The point is that while some conservative voices in the media rage against proposed changes to the game, the point is that the game is evolving, and should evolve.

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