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Mayo boss James Horan bemoans ‘reactionary’ rule changes

James Horan

Mayo Gaelic football manager James Horan has argued that the recent rule changes in the sport have been unnecessary and reactionary.

A new 10-minute sin bin and a new penalty rule, which sees a spot kick awarded if a player is brought down within the 20 metre line or the semi-circular arc when there is a chance of a goal, have been both been introduced this year.

Those two new changes, on top of the introduction of the advanced mark last year, has led Horan to question the level of thought put into the rules by the GAA’s decision makers.

Horan was speaking to RTE about the rule changes and expressed his fear that they could be a decisive factor in some games in this year’s Championship.

‘I don’t know what’s the intended benefit of some of them.’

“I think we’ve gone overboard on rule changes, I think some of them have been reactionary and some of them in my opinion haven’t worked,” Horan said.

“The advanced mark, the penalty rule, will that throw up a few things in the Championship? It probably will. You’d hate for games to be decided on some of those rule changes.

“I don’t know where or how [the rules] are generated or what’s the science behind some of them, or what’s the intended benefit of some of them.”

James Horan believes the game should be allowed to evolve naturally.

Thee three rules – the advanced mark, the sin bin and the new penalty rule – have all been introduced by the GAA in an effort to reduce the amount of cynical and defensive play in Gaelic football.

However, the game has largely moved away from the overly-defensive structures that many teams adopted roughly 10 years ago, as seen by the recent high-scoring affairs in this year’s Allianz League.

Horan believes that the game was always going to move away from the defensive mindset that had proven to be pervasive in recent years, arguing that the sport should be allowed to evolve without tweaking the rules.

“I said this before and I keep saying it, and even a couple of years ago when there was an awful lot of shouting that the game was too defensive or too cynical – the game evolves itself naturally at a high level,” Horan commented.

“I think Gaelic football is in the healthiest shape it’s possibly been ever in, with the highest standard. Just look at the league campaigns we’ve just had and some of the games in that with the standard and the scoring rates.

“I’m not sure we need to mess with some of the rules that we are.”

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