Not long ago, the word ‘cynical’ was on the tip of the tongue in any GAA conversation. Ever since the Joe Brolly rant after a foul by Sean Cavanagh, it has been to the fore of many the debate.
To a certain degree, this is still the case, but the introduction of the black card in gaelic football has certainly helped matters, although it is still prevalent in the game.
Former Meath football and Ireland international rules manager Seán Boylan is a member of a committee chaired by Jarleth Burns charged with coming up with recommendations for rule changes to submit to the Central Council.
Of course, any attempt to proportionally punish those who intentionally drag another player to the ground is commendable, and Boylan has come up with an interesting solution, as reported by The Irish Examiner.
Boylan has forwarded the notion of a goal scored directly off a penalty being worth four points instead of three.
“I put it to you this way: say somebody pulls a player down and there’s a minute to go. For doing that, instead of a black card or a yellow card there’s a penalty but that penalty would be four points and not three points.
“In other words, you would be taking the decisions on the field of play and not in a boardroom. I would just love to see us getting to that stage.
“Are you talking about rewriting (rules) to bring clarity? When you see lots of things being sorted out (in a boardroom) that’s not the spirit of where we come from or what it’s about. That’s no disrespect to people involved in that profession but this is a game.”
This way, there is a distinct disadvantage of dragging a player down who is en route to the goal, as the forward now has a chance of adding even more points.
There are several other proposals, most notably the introduction of a mark beyond the 45 metre line, which will be tested in the Sigerson Cup.
“I miss the physical contact in the air,” remarked Boylan. “It’s such a huge part of the culture of the game and it is a physical contact sport and that’s why people go to see that.”
Boylan is keen to see things be put into action, rather than merely being discussed.
“Look, it’s worth a try. Because the things that are discussed an awful lot, and yet nothing seems to get done about it.”
Interesting times ahead indeed.