GAA should set up workshops with inter-county managers to improve the game: Armagh's Jim McCorry

Kieran McGeeney and Jim McCorry (right). McCorry feels the GAA is not engaging with its stakeholders well enough in trying to improve Gaelic football

ARMAGH’S assistant manager Jim McCorry says the GAA should properly engage with managers and coaches to improve Gaelic football.

Chairman of the Standing Rules Committee on Playing Rules [SRCPR], David Hassan revealed all inter-county football managers were asked to contribute to the debate but only a third of them responded via letter.

McCorry also rejected the notion managers and coaches were the wrong people to discuss rule changes and argued that everyone desired a better spectacle.

“Contrary to some pundits and reporters who say when you put new rules in place the last thing you want to do is talk to managers and players because they’ll not agree with them.

“But managers and coaches want rules that will improve the game, they want the game to be more entertaining for spectators and to make it more enjoyable for players.”

Several high-profile managers, including Donegal’s Declan Bonner, Down’s Paddy Tally and Fermanagh’s Rory Gallagher bemoaned the new three hand-passes rule after last Sunday's round of McKenna Cup games as well as other new rules that will come under the microscope from Central Council on January 19, a week before the start of the National League.

Last season, Armagh were one of the most expansive teams on the inter-county circuit and were involved in the best game of the summer, an All-Ireland Round Four Qualifier with Roscommon in Portlaoise.

Upon receiving written correspondence from the SRCPR, it is understood Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney went a step further and met with Hassan to discuss the perceived ills of Gaelic football.

Rather than writing to managers, McCorry believes managers, coaches and referees should be involved in a more comprehensive way.

“Take the likes of Jim Gavin, Mickey Harte, Malachy O’Rourke and Kieran McGeeney who have been there for a long time – talk to those guys, get them in a working group together, get the top referees in and develop what they think is the best thing for the game. Get managers from every division in the National League.

“People have been scratching their heads at all levels. Don’t get me wrong, the guys [SRCPR committee members] want the best for the game and they think that these rules might do it. It’s not that their objective is wrong; it’s maybe what they’ve put in isn’t going to do that.

“The forward sideline is a bit of a nonsense.” McCorry added.

“It doesn’t make any difference. They are trying to make the game more open and with more scores when it’s going to do the opposite. The new rules are so easy to coach against from a defensive point of view. You prepare for these rule changes but a lot of them probably won’t survive – and hopefully won’t survive.”

McCorry continued: “If you break it down on match day the key personnel are players, managers in how they set up their teams and the referee. I’ve spoken to a couple of top-level referees recently and they’ve said it’s impossible for them to do it correctly because they’ve that much to do in the game. To add these new rules in probably creates more problems for them.”

McCorry revealed that while some of the new rules have been a “distraction”, the Armagh squad hasn’t been obsessing over them prior to their McKenna Cup games.

“You’ve got to prepare for a competition, and possibly two competitions, where you have some of these rules in place.

“It’s not something you devote full training sessions to and that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve found in in-house preparation games, the hand pass rule is probably the biggest one that people are scratching their head at.”

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