Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Don’t knock GAA rules until we’ve tried them

A top GAA official has called on both managers and players to give the controversial new playing rules a fair chance.

The experimental playing rules will come into force in the upcoming Dr McKenna Cup competition and John Kiely has urged everyone in the sport to be positive in their assessment and not to make rash judgements.

Kiely, the former Waterford football manager and a member of the committee entrusted with coming up with the new rules, stressed that the committee’s aim was to develop a formula that would enhance some of the skills that are fast dying out.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte maintains there is no need for change and that it makes more sense to leave well alone.

“Mickey Harte and some other managers have stated that there is no need to change the rules, but we shouldn’t be afraid to try out new ideas and I feel it would be wrong to condemn the new experimental rules without a fair trial,” said Kiely.

“The priority of our committee is to bring back skills into football like the proper hand pass, more accurate kick outs and high catching that was once such a feature of our sport.

“I certainly don’t regard them as massive changes, but they are new challenges to managers who will have to coach their teams differently in some areas of the game.

“The hand pass in both football and hurling, the worth of a penalty to the attacking team, the square ball, were all aspects of football that we decided to act on.”

Kiely also revealed that his committee opted against awarding four points for a goal, and decided not to penalise teams after more than two consecutive hand passes, as policing such a change would place additional pressure on referees. They also decided not to abolish the fisted point as they felt it would restrict attacking play.

Too often the GAA makes knee jerk reactions when change is in the offing. All John Kiely is asking that the experimental playing rules get a fair crack of the whip, no more, no less.

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