Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Joe Kernan: GAA chiefs keep their eye on the ball by embracing change

For decades the GAA has been viewed as an ultra-conservative body, suspicious of change and wary of tampering with tradition.

In recent years the organisation has undergone something of a transformation with new developments embraced and decisions, which in the not too distant past would have been regarded as radical, being smoothly implemented.

The pace of change continues unabated, too, as the Association prepares to embrace Hawk-Eye technology for a two-year trial period for major football and hurling championship matches at Croke Park.

It is only after a studious assessment of the concept that the GAA has agreed to adopt this form of technology which will hopefully eradicate the controversies which have arisen in recent seasons because of the apparent inability of umpires and referees in showpiece games to determine what is, and is not, a legitimate score.

At the end of the two-year spell a full review of the Hawk-Eye process will be carried out and a decision taken whether to implement it on a more widespread and permanent basis.

Obviously cost will be an important factor here but at least the Association is prepared to respond in a positive manner to what has been an embarrassing sequence of howlers.

While the GAA is seemingly in the mood for further change, I would be particularly keen to see the ‘square ball’ rule amended.

There have been far too many wrong verdicts given in relation to this one aspect of play to allow the current rule to go unchanged.

It should be amended to ensure that a player is allowed to enter the square after the ball has been played in that direction and any score which that player lands should be allowed to stand.

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