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Rules committee don't like people with opinions, says angry McGeeney

 

By Declan Bogue

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney has revealed his frustration at the Standing Committee on Playing Rules, recounting his own experiences at the start of the decade while serving on the committee.

The controversial limit on handpasses was voted down at a meeting of Central Council on Saturday, and this final was played without it.

"I was on the committee before, and they don't like people with opinions," said McGeeney after the Dr McKenna Cup final, when Armagh were beaten by two points by Tyrone.

"I said after three meetings that I was going because the nonsense that was going on. We talked about tackling.

"If you had have read the minutes afterwards it wouldn't have mentioned the tackle.

"I was there, I was told to go away, they don't like people with opinions."

Talking about the handpass rule, McGeeney said: "I understand that they are trying to improve the game but they don't look at where they want to end up.

"They still firefight. They say they want to stop people going backways and that they want to encourage people to go forwards and that they are trying to get away from the start-stop nature of the game. So we introduce things that start and stop the game and we introduce things that make people go back.

"We are looking at the symptoms rather than the cure. We need to look at what we want from the game, we want it hard-hitting like hurling, we want it fast moving, we want to be able to move it through the middle without being slowed but all the things we need to look at, we don't."

McGeeney revealed that like a lot of other managers in Ulster, his charges were not using the handpass restriction rule in their own training, or indeed any of the five experimental rules.

He cited the final point of the game, where Tyrone's Cathal McShane took an offensive mark, but also longer than the permitted time to kick it in.

"We did not prepare for any of them," said McGeeney.

"We just counted the three handpasses but look at the mark. It was great there in the last minute or two.

"Once you kick it and you know it is a mark what do you do?

"You stop, you don't run in and support the play so you don't get any goals.

"Is it 15 seconds you are allowed to take for the mark and the last one was 30 seconds?

"It is typical of us, we make rules, we set them out and then we ignore them."

He continued: "Can you define the tackle for me? We are going on about this forever.

"Maybe if we get rid of a few dinosaurs it will happen.

"If you want it non physical then that's what we go for. We play a non contact game, more like soccer.

"Do we want it more like the AFL? But we need to make up our mind because at the minute if you are strong and you hit somebody hard it is a foul and you reward people for going down."

Meanwhile, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte had his say on the rules, stating: "There has to be some other way to determine if this is a mark or not.

"One was taken tonight when the mark was taken but then the player played on. There are a whole lot of variations that happen as well that need to be ironed out."

He also enthused over the latest addition to his panel, Darragh Canavan, son of Peter who made a brief appearance here.

"Who wouldn't be excited by Darragh Canavan?," said the Reds Hands boss.

"If you haven't had time to be excited by him I guarantee you will in the near future

"He's just quality. He is a very young lad and he is just such a good young player and we have to be careful with him.

"He is just out of minors but he is real quality and it is not hard to see where he picked his skill off."

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