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Tyrone duo Harte and Morgan quick to lambast GAA's new kickout rule



Safe hands: Niall Morgan celebrates Tyrone’s win over Dublin, but has been left unimpressed by the latest rule change

Safe hands: Niall Morgan celebrates Tyrone’s win over Dublin, but has been left unimpressed by the latest rule change

�INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Safe hands: Niall Morgan celebrates Tyrone’s win over Dublin, but has been left unimpressed by the latest rule change

The new rule forbidding players in Gaelic football from passing back to the goalkeeper after receiving a kickout has received a mixed reaction from Dublin manager Dessie Farrell and his Tyrone counterpart, Mickey Harte.

Motion Six was voted in at 9.36pm on Friday night, just as the count for the new president-elect was being totted up, and it scraped in with 62% of the vote, with a margin of 60% required.

"I actually think that's a good rule change," said Farrell after seeing his side beaten by the Red Hands at Healy Park. "It's squeezing the thing up. You can see in situations where teams want to run down the clock, they've got their advantage and the use of the goalkeeper becomes quite apparent in that way.

"It just makes it more interesting."

Proposed by the Raheens club in Kildare, it didn't meet with the favour of Harte.

"It's time for another rule change, isn't it? The referees are getting used to the ones that are there, so give them a couple more," he said with tongue in cheek.

"It may incentivise teams to press but I don't know what the criteria was for the people who brought it in, what they had in mind. Everything like that, players adjust and do whatever is required to live with the rule."

The new rule will be in effect in time for the beginning of the provincial Championships, just nine weeks away, without any trial period.

Usually rules are given a period of time such as the pre-season competitions for some road-testing, but the fact that this one hasn't puzzles Harte.

"There's no point in me talking about the people who make rules because they make them anyway, and as many as they want. They don't always consult with people on the ground over whether these are sensible rules or not - that's a fact," he stated.

As to whether it might have been brought in after last weekend for the last two rounds of National League games, Harte added: "That's what I'm telling you, they don't consult the people on the ground who would be able to tell whether this is a sensible thing to do or not.

"They just bring these in. That happens, we can do nothing about it."

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan, a player who routinely joins in attacks after playing a short give-and-go from a kickout, declared himself unimpressed with the development.

"For me, I don't understand why people who don't play the game get to make the decisions on what players have to do," said the Edendork man after nailing four frees in a man-of-the-match performance during their win over Dublin.

"I know the Gaelic Players' Association have two delegates at a meeting representing the players and to me it doesn't make sense.

"There is a group of men, maybe retired, who might not have played football to a decent level. They get to decide what the rules are for the current players.

"Just leave the game as it is for a while at least. Hurling seems to vote against change, they like their game the way it is, but we vote against our own game."

On Saturday night, Tyrone surrendered the Dublin kickout by flooding everyone in their own defence at times in the second half. The short kickout is an established tactic of many teams and they will now have to readjust ahead of Championship football.

"We have to deal with all the rule changes as they come in," said Morgan. "We don't get to decide the rule changes. It's like anything in life, no matter what rule changes, you have to get on with the job and find a different way around it."

Pointing to the natural evolution of the position, he continued: "To me, goalkeeping has changed vastly in the last 10 or 12 years, with (Stephen) Cluxton coming along, then myself, Rory (Beggan), Graham Briody, Shaun Patton as well. We are all trying to make goalkeepers want to play.

"I don't think they are going to be content in Croke Park until we are just lumping it out long between the midfielders. I think the next thing they are going to try to implement is the kickout has to pass the 45m line like in International Rules.

"I don't think they take into consideration the club footballers, the club referees."

Belfast Telegraph