The introduction of the advanced mark rule has caused widespread discussion throughout the Gaelic football world.
For today’s players it’s about the idea of rewarding the skill involved in the long pass, the technique in battling for the high ball against the opposition.
There has however been teething problems since the introduction of the rule, but former Dublin footballer Alan Brogan feels that given time and perhaps a little bit of tweaking, it could be a beneficial change to the game.
“I think it makes sense, it encourages a lot of kick-passing and high catches which I think is good,” Brogan told Pundit Arena at the launch of the 18th season of TG4’s Laochra Gael series.
“Obviously some of the marks we’ve seen so far have been short little passes to some fella on his own catching it so when you see that happening you’re thinking ‘does that really deserve a free shot at goal?’
“Look I think there’s a lot of work that has gone into it and we need to give it a chance and see how it works out. If it’s slowing down the game or it’s stopping goal opportunities we’ll have to look at doing away with it but I think for now it’s certainly worth looking at.
“I feel it’s probably come a couple of years too late when there was the mass blanket defences a few years ago, that’s when we really needed to see it.”
Former Kerry full-forward Kieran Donaghy echoes his old rival’s sentiments and proposed adding an extra 20-yards to the length required for the mark.
“I think the mark was brought in for, if you lengthen the kick to 40 yards, if it’s 38 who cares but the idea behind it is if it’s 40 yards it’s a long kick and it’s in the air for a long time which means there’s going to be people going for it.
“There’s a skill to it. The beauty of hurling is that there’s so many 50/50 balls. There’s fellas fighting for it and there’s that bit of warfare and the crowd are engaged. That’s what the mark is supposed to be for.
“Maybe if it was tweaked for the Championship. Can we add on 20 yards? It’ll be the same thing, just add on 20 yards.
“What that’d do then is it’d take the stuff that’s annoying us away from it, the little dinky balls and the stopping and the taking of the frees and the slowing the game down and it would bring huge excitement, aerial bombardment, big guys fighting in around the house for it and just that edge of the seat stuff. That’s what the fans want.”
Donaghy also outlined that he feels, despite the rule needing tweaking, it would be something that would’ve benefitted his own game had it been introduced during his career.
“Oh, I’d enjoy it if I was playing definitely. A big part of my game was catching the ball but it was always ‘what am I going to do after that?’ which was my issue.
“It was always good to know what I was doing and seeing players around me I could see them to lay it off to them but knowing that all you’ve to do is catch it even if there’s lots of bodies around you, there’s a great freedom in that. I think it needs tweaking though.
“I don’t like the rule the way it is at the moment. I think if they just said ‘look it’s going to be a 40-metre kick,’ I think that’s what they brought it in for. People putting high ball in around the house, great fielding, huge excitement in the crowd, rewarding a guy for a great catch, that’s what the mark was brought in for. What we have now though, it’ll turn into a possession thing, safe, chip in it, hold it into your chest, guys out in front.”