Paul Mannion doesn’t see the advanced mark having much of a positive impact on Gaelic football as it is “too much reward for such a basic skill.”
After being trialled in last year’s Allianz Football League, the new rule was implemented ahead of the 2020 season. Forwards are now able to avail of a free shot at goal if they clean catch a 20-metre kick pass inside the opposition’s 45-metre line.
Speaking at eir Sport’s Allianz League 2020 launch, Mannion admitted that he wasn’t a fan of the new rule during its trial period last year and not much has happened since to change his way of thinking.
“I was not a fan of it last year in the league. I’m still not a fan of it,” Mannion said.
“I appreciate the intent behind it – I see what they’re trying to do but I just don’t think it will have the desired effect. I think what’s actually going to happen is teams looking for small, easy 30 yard passes that shouldn’t be rewarded with such an easy shot on goal.
“If it’s a big, booming crossfield kick pass and it’s caught magnificently out of the air, sure, I can see [the merit in that being rewarded]. That’s why I’m sure the rule was brought in to encourage but I just don’t see that happening.
“In the league, there were far too short passes that were not spectacular, that would have happened anyway, that were then rewarded with a shot on goal.
“It was too much reward for such a basic skill. I don’t see it having that much of a positive impact.”
The five-time All-Ireland winner believes there are other ways to tweak the game, however, he does admit he could be wrong after having a certain degree of scepticism surrounding the kick-out mark when it was introduced.
“There are other ways you can tweak the game without having to bring in a mark like that.
“A good Gaelic football game doesn’t need any rule changes. It just seems to be too rash and forced a rule to bring in. It’s a shame.
“Look, I could be wrong. I remember being sceptical about the kick-out mark and that’s turned out to be quite positive.”
The triple All-Star recipient believes it’s tough on defenders and that the introduction of an advanced mark might empower teams to pack out their defence.
“It’s a different one for defenders. Teams are getting more defensive instead of going and gambling, trying to punch and break a ball away.
“They can concede a mark instead of leaving themselves vulnerable for a goal. It’s a really tricky one for defenders to manage. It could have the oppositive effect with teams putting more people behind the ball to just clog up defences.
“Previously, a kick pass into the corner might not have caused any danger if the forward still had his back to goal. It will be interesting to see what happens.”