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Forwards will have a ball but keepers not happy with rule

By Joe Kernan

There is currently much public debate about the amended square ball rule — and practically all of it of a negative nature from what I can make out.

Undoubtedly goalkeepers may be perceived to be rather more vulnerable although I would contend that any custodian who is comfortable under the high ball and has a good understanding with his defenders has nothing to worry about.

The fact that players can now go into the small square immediately the ball is projected in that direction means that keepers will come under more pressure — and the ball may not be the real centre of attention.

Obviously referees will need to be even more vigilant and they will perhaps have to make difficult split-second decisions.

Yet I firmly believe that the amended rule is well worth a full-scale trial during the course of the Championship season — just as Congress has deemed.

We flirted with this rule a couple of years ago and then it was consigned to the back burner once again.

The possibility of more goals ensuing in games must not be overlooked given the quality of forwards that we have in all four provinces and, if this happens, who will complain — except of course fans of those sides that concede the goals.

There is nothing that lights up a game more than a goal although a couple in quick succession for the same team can effectively ‘kill’ a game as a contest.

It seems as soon as a rule is amended or changed a range of reasons are put forward as to why this should NOT have happened — even before the rule has been put into practice.

Too much negativity breeds disillusionment and cynicism.

Like everyone else I will be observing closely just how the new rule is implemented by players and policed by referees.

And if it becomes clear that it is not to the benefit of the sport, I’ll shout this from the rooftops.

But in the meantime I am quite happy to see how things work out in what are the most important matches of the year.

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