Armagh began their 2019 inter-county campaign with a demolition of St. Mary’s College Belfast in the Dr McKenna Cup.
It was Kieran McGeeney’s charges first outing under the new rules that will be experimented throughout the pre-season competitions and Allianz Football League.
Despite, their 6-17 to 1-07 victory, ‘Geezer’ was not happy with the rule changes enforced and feels that the powers that be are ignoring the problems that actually exist within the game, which in his eyes is the tackle.
“I just think we look at the symptoms rather than the cause, that’s been a constant for 20 years.” McGeeney told the BBC.
“We still won’t look at our tackle, everybody says it’s an agreed thing, but that’s where most of our problems lie.”
The All-Ireland winning captain believes the three hand-pass rule is, in fact, counter-productive as it encourages teams to recycle the ball back even more than before.
“Three hand passes, we use it in the Aussie Rules, you just count the hand passes and wait for the fourth person to get it because you know he has to kick, so it’s easier to tackle and that pushes the ball back out again, so it’s actually encouraging what you are trying to stop, I think.
“But, (it’s counter-productive) even when you get inside, like look at today, both teams had easy scores on (that they could not take), but they’re here so we just have to try our best.”
The Armagh manager believes the rules are not consistent and that a certain form of tackling is accepted in certain areas of the pitch but not in others.
“I think the one thing we should look at is our rules need to be consistent. You even had one of the top referees there come out and talk about somebody mentioned about having two referees, but we can’t have that because there will be two different interpretations of the tackle.” He said.
“I would still look at the tackle, it is quite a difficult one to do because if you bring physicality in, we have payers now that are better built, more pace, more power… but they’re not allowed to tackle.
“There are different sections of the pitch where you are allowed to tackle hard and other sections where you are hardly allowed to tackle at all.”
Overall, McGeeney feels everyone ignored the statistics last year that showed team were scoring more, and instead opted to try to dilute aspects of the game like the hand-pass as a result.
“But last year when we were talking about the rules needed to be changed, nobody would say ‘well we’re scoring more now than we’ve ever scored’. We forget about that and just concentrate on the things we don’t like which is the hand-passes.”