Jim McGuinness criticises Gaelic Football and says the game has gone ‘soft’

Jim McGuinness

The former Donegal boss had a different take on the free-scoring games in Ulster last weekend

Jim McGuinness has criticised the standard of Gaelic Football this season, saying the heart has gone out of the game.

The Sky Sports pundit outlined his opinion while writing in his Irish Times column.

Jim McGuinness: Gaelic football is now just a shooting contest.

Last week the Ulster Championship was lauded after two free-scoring games. Firstly, on Saturday Monaghan defeated Armagh 4-17 to 2-21. While Tyrone defeated Donegal 0-23 to 1-14. McGuinness feels we shouldn’t celebrate too much.

He wrote: “The heart has gone out of Gaelic football. Much as last weekend’s games in Ulster were lauded, I feel that there is a real danger that what makes the game special and unique is about to be lost.

“There is a conspicuous lack of physicality. A pronounced absence of aggression. A dearth of turnovers. The game has become sanitised – and, in my opinion, soft.”

Analysing the Donegal and Tyrone in particular, McGuinness criticised the lack of tackling in the game in the build-up to scores.

“We had a game ourselves on Sunday so I never got to see the Donegal-Tyrone match live,” McGuinness wrote.

I knew the result when I turned on the recording. The game started and Tyrone won the throw-in. Thirty-three seconds later Kieran McGeary kicked a point. In the build-up there wasn’t a hand laid on a Tyrone player. And Donegal had 13 men inside their 65.

“Seconds later, Shaun Patton took a short kick out for Donegal and Michael Langan sauntered up the field. Péadar Mogan offloaded to Hugh McFadden inside his defensive 65 and he soloed straight through the heart of the Tyrone defence and flicked the ball to Jamie Brennan, who scored with his defender two or three yards off him. That first minute looked to me like a snapshot of where Gaelic football is at right now.

“We need to be careful what we wish for”

The former All Ireland winning boss became renowned for his tactics – sometimes overtly defensive. McGuiness however, says there was logic to his reasoning.

He added: “When I managed Donegal we always tried to eliminate the ‘hope-you-miss’ attitude. As far as I can see that has become the governing attitude among all teams. You will run beside the attacker and shepherd him and stand off two or three metres and you won’t make full-blooded contact.”

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