Burns de­fends ‘rea­son­able’ new kick-out re­stric­tions

Ball must now cross 20-me­tre line un­der new di­rec­tive

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Gaelic Games - SEÁN MO­RAN

Fresh from his suc­cess at Satur­day’s spe­cial congress in plac­ing re­stric­tions on the short kick-out in foot­ball, Jar­lath Burns, chair of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Play­ing Rules, has said that there are no plans to pur­sue a fur­ther re­quire­ment that kick-outs must cross the 45-me­tre line.

The change that was ac­cepted at the end of the congress when mo­tion 21, oblig­ing kick-outs to travel not less than 13 me­tres and out­side the 20-me­tre line, se­cured 82 per cent of the 142 votes.

Dublin del­e­gate Michael Seavers op­posed say­ing that the change would, “con­dense our play­ing ar­eas be­tween the 21 and 45 yard lines. This does not re­ward the peo­ple who want to play ball; this is help­ing peo­ple who can’t play ball prop­erly.”


Asked about pro­pos­als to ex­tend the re­stric­tion to the 45-me­tre line, as is the case in in­ter­na­tional rules, Burns was un­con­vinced.

“You have to be very care­ful,” he said, “that you don’t turn the game into some­thing that is con­trived or you don’t end up with un­in­tended con­se­quences. It is maybe some­thing that could be tri­alled at a later stage but it’s not some­thing that we have planned. We just thought it was a bridge too far.

“If a for­ward is fac­ing the goal and he knows that the ball has to cross the 45, there’s no in­cen­tive for him to be in that area so what they would do is maybe four out of the six would hang around the mid­dle of the field and it would make it even more con­gested.”

He had in­tro­duced the mo­tion by say­ing that the ini­tia­tive would be “a slight dis­cour­age­ment” to goal­keep­ers go­ing short with re-starts.

“I un­der­stand what Michael Seavers was say­ing, that you are lim­it­ing the space that a goal­keeper has to kick the ball out but, again, what we have found is, if you are rea­son­able as op­posed to rad­i­cal you will get things through Congress.”

He was also asked about any plans to ad­dress the type of scenes ev­i­dent at the end of Septem­ber’s All-Ire­land fi­nal when var­i­ous in­ci­dents of cal­cu­lated mis­be­haviour took place. In re­sponse Burns said that his com­mit­tee had to be care­ful about over re­act­ing and he ref­er­enced the progress made in ad­dress­ing the prob­lem.


“Peo­ple have come up to us and you can’t re­ally knee-jerk on the ba­sis of cyn­i­cism in the last five or 10 min­utes of the All-Ire­land fi­nal. I don’t think that’s some­thing that our com­mit­tee is go­ing to change, per­haps the next one but I def­i­nitely think that there has been a fair change in the game and the at­ti­tude to­wards the game.

“Peo­ple lam­bast the black card and I think the black card, while it’s not nice when some­body gets a black card and you don’t want to see any­body go­ing off on a black card, par­tic­u­larly in the later stages of the cham­pi­onship, is a tem­per­a­ment sanc­tion and it deals with the ac­tual player him­self hav­ing to pre­pare his tem­per­a­ment to make sure he doesn’t carry out any of the in­frac­tions that we see.”

He re­ferred to re­marks made by for­mer GAA pres­i­dent, the late Joe McDon­agh, 20 years ago. “I took a photo of his com­ment and he said there was too much pulling and drag­ging in the game, too many stop­pages and we needed to deal with it. I think that by and large, we are deal­ing with it. It is go­ing to be hard to erad­i­cate in an ag­gres­sive game where ag­gres­sion is such a part of it but I think the game is bet­ter as a re­sult of changes that have been brought in.”

Jar­lath Burns: ‘I think the black card is a tem­per­a­ment sanc­tion’

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