GAA Football

Back in the day: The Irish News, Dec 19, 1997: Managers wary of experimental rules in McKenna Cup

The late Pat King had reservations about new rules to be tried out in the 1998 McKenna Cup when he was Fermanagh boss back in 1997. Pic Ann McManus

THE experimental rules being introduced for this season's McKenna Cup have received a lukewarm response from some of the managers in Ulster.

Pat King, manager of cup holders Fermanagh, is in favour of using more substitutes, but said he'd have preferred to see linesmen taking a more active role in games rather than tinkering with the rules.

King said he wasn't sure how fouling could be stopped by the ‘two cautions' system, which it is hoped will cut out a lot of the pulling and dragging in the game.

“I've become aware during my time as a manager how cyncial defenders have become and how there is wholesale fouling of forwards nowadays, which is sometimes hard for the referee to see.

“What has infuriated me about football is that there are seven officials on the pitch and six of them are doing precious little.

“I would prefer to see more cooperation between linesmen and referees, which does take place to some extent during the championship.”

Down boss Pete McGrath said managers were “fed up with continuous interference” from outside bodies. “I appreciate the game has to evolve but sometimes you feel these changes are introduced just for the sake of it,” he said.

McGrath said he was concerned about the restriction of the solo run. “The solo run is a unique skill to Gaelic football. Rules are there to be used to your advantage and skills like that should be used at the discretion of players and coaches, not outside bodies.

McGrath said he also had reservations about players taking a ‘mark' adding it could lead to the game becoming more fragmented.

The Down boss however applauded the introduction of the pick-up rule, as did Tyrone manager Danny Ball. “The players do it anyway so it's fair enough to bring it in,” he said. “But I do think there are too many new rules being brought in at the one time. “There's not much wrong with them as they are, if they're applied right.”


ANDY McCALLIN, Antrim's only Allstar footballer, has been appointed manager of Cargin. McCallin, a Health and Safety consultant, headed a list of applicants to replace Brendan Convery at the Toome club.

McCallin was earlier this year listed among possible candidates to replace John Morrison as manager of Antrim's senior football squad.

The former St John's player returns to the club he managed between 1989 and 1991. In his first season as manager, McCallin took Cargin to the Antrim senior football championship final, only to lose out to Rossa. The following year the club lost its second consecutive appearance in the final, this time to St Gall's. McCallin completed his term in charge in 1991 when St Paul's ended Cargin's championship hopes in the competition.

Meanwhile Antrim full-forward Enda McAtamney has left Ballymena All Saints. The towering forward had a transfer to St John's granted by the county board this week.


The Antrim U21 football panel to play Mickey Moran's Sligo in the Hastings Cup tomorrow (Sat, 1.30) is: D Niblock, M Walsh, E Wilson, A Campbell, P McCallon, J Finucane, K Murray, JP Stitt, K Stewart, G Flynn, J Quinn, C McKenna, A Brennan, G Scullion, K McErlean, P McCann, D McCann, D Craig, K Brady, P McErlean, P McCann, A Scullion, E McLernon, M McMullan, B McCann, T Convery, E Doherty, K Madden.


THE fight all the world is waiting to witness, a heavyweight title unification battle between WBA/IBF holder Evander Holyfield and WBC champion Lennox Lewis is back on track for an April date Stateside.

Lewis’s manager Frank Maloney revealed last night that he is flying out to Miami today with a special invitation from American promoter Don King to discuss terms for the world title showdown.

Holyfield went up 10-fold in fight fans’ and ring experts’ estimation with his stunning demolition jobs on the mad, bad ear-biting Mike Tyson. He reinforced his status as World No 1 by battering IBF champion Michael Moorer to defeat in Las Vegas last month.

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