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Controversial square ball rule under scrutiny

By John Campbell

Ulster will await with particular interest to learn of any proposals which the newly-formed Croke Park standing Rules Committee will make in relation to amending some of the playing rules.

While there are still perceived to be some thorny issues, it is doubtful if any element of the laws as they are currently framed has caused as much controversy of late as the square ball rule.

And in what is surely a touch of irony, Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney, whose side suffered a serious blow when they had what appeared to be a perfectly good goal from Tómas O’Connor disallowed against Donegal because referee David Coldrick ruled that he was in the square before he gained possession, is now one of two managers sitting on the new committee. The other is Kilkenny hurling boss Brian Cody.

Until now, the GAA could only experiment with rules every five years and the next trial period was due in 2015. But the new committee will meet soon and it is anticipated they will have proposals which, if ratified by Central Council, can be used in competitions like the McKenna Cup and the National League in 2012.

The GPA has been given a strong voice on the committee as Dessie Farrell and Donal Og Cusask will be members. It will also include GAA president Christy Cooney, president-elect Liam O’Neill and director-general Paraic Duffy. There is considerable optimism that the square ball rule will be amended or scrapped altogether

And while it is now being suggested that a player should be allowed to enter the square immediately after the ball has been played in that direction there would appear to be a strong belief the rule should be axed.

Meanwhile, the Bredagh club in south Belfast is set to host a ‘Bredagh talks Sam’ forum tomorrow night in the Wellington Park Hotel.

The event, which is sponsored by the Northern Bank, will feature a stellar panel that includes Tyrone icon Peter Canavan, legendary Meath manager Sean Boylan, Derry hero Joe Brolly and GAA writer Colm Keys.

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