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GAA defers plan to use clock and hooter until 2015

By Declan Bogue

GAA's Central Council have outlined their reasons for deferring the use of a clock and a hooter to signal time during matches from this Championship season, to the 2015 season.

The initial suggestion for change came with Motion 24 at last year's Annual Congress hosted in Derry and proposed by the Football Review Committee.

The motion proposed that 'A public time clock shall be used in Croke Park and in all grounds used for Provincial and All-Ireland series senior football Championship games. The clock shall be stopped for injuries and other deliberate or incidental delays on the instructions of the referee, which shall be conveyed visible to the official in charge of the clock. The end of the game shall be signalled by a hooter.'

At that time it was passed by a two-thirds majority of 69% and at last month's Congress an alteration was made to include hurling.

The Sigerson Cup acted as a guinea pig for the experiment, with Croke Park employees Bernard Smith and Fergal McGill used as fifth officials, McGill later compiling the subsequent report.

The move has now been pushed back for a season while the GAA commence an 'education programme'.

The rule dealing with stopping the timing clock concerns delays for injuries and for deliberate or 'other incidental delays not otherwise provided for in the playing rules.' For such events as substitutions, issuing cards or referees consulting match officials, the clock was not to be stopped, unless the delays were exceptional.

The recommendation paper reads: 'There was definite confusion – particularly among spectators, but also backroom teams – as to what the clock should be stopped for. An explanation of the system had been sent to all the participating teams but some clearly had not digested the message.'

In the meantime, certain rules have to be implemented at next year's Congress to allow for the necessary installation of radio link-ups with the fifth official and referee, the potential problem of teams running down the clock by multiple substitutions and the finer details around whether a shot struck while the hooter sounds could be considered legitimate if it results in a score.

Meanwhile, the Galway v Armagh Allianz Football League Division Two encounter on Sunday has been switched from Pearse Stadium, Salthill to Tuam Stadium with the throw in-at 2pm. The Division Four Antrim v London game at Creggan will start at 1pm.

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