GAA Football

Rory Gallagher blasts 'farcical' and 'ludicrous' proposed rules

Fermanagh boss Rory Gallagher
Colm Bradley

Rory Gallagher has branded the proposed new rule changes as “farcical”.

The Fermanagh manager was speaking following his side’s Dr McKenna Cup game with Derry on Sunday, where he vented his frustration.

He also claimed that players don’t want to play under the new rules and believes that officials don’t like officiating them.

“I think that we were all asked to keep an open mind. We have been training under these circumstances for five or six weeks,'' said Gallagher.

“We have played a couple of games, I have been at a couple of games, and I think the general perception is that it is farcical.''

The former Donegal boss contends that football is not in the dire situation that some believe, and argues that with an increase of exposure so to has come and increase in scrutiny.

“It's disappointing that the perception has been put out there that football is worse than it is,'' he added.

“I think there has always been bad games, at the minute there is too much publicity about the GAA, there is so much of it on television, there are newspapers to be sold, there is social media and everybody wants to comment on it.”

The limiting of the number of consecutive hand passes to three is the rule which has caused Gallagher most frustration and he argues that it is leading to “ludicrous” situations on the field.

“It's an unenjoyable game to play at the minute,'' he stated.

“Derry were caught with it a couple of times today, we were caught out on a fourth hand pass. It leads to a lot of ludicrous short kickpassing.

“It leads to a lot of unforced errors and it is a disappointing set of circumstances to try and coach and play,” the Fermanagh manager added.

Derry manager, Damian McErlain, shared Gallagher’s frustration with the hand pass rule, and believes that it penalises teams who are trying to be creative in their attacking play: “The fist pass one brings a bit of frustration and probably got us off the hook a few times today. “I think early on when Fermanagh had so many men back and you could see that against that it is almost impossible to retain the ball.

“It is ridiculous to have rules so that the team will fail when attack.”

McErlain confirmed that managers have been asked for their feedback on the proposed rule changes from Croke Park.

“There was a generic email from Croke Park with a survey to take. They said they are looking our views on it.

“I think the mark inside is not too bad although it is very difficult to execute but I think the hand passing will have to go.”

Gallagher, meanwhile, claimed that referees are equally frustrated with the proposed rule changes and that the hand passing rule is bringing about a situation where players are being told to kick the ball over the side line and concede possession rather than be forced into a turnover.

“It does in no way help the game. And I know the players don't enjoy it. We don't enjoy it and I think officials, off the record, will tell you they don't like it,” Gallagher said.

“In our opinion it looks like a committee were given a directive to introduce kick passing the ball and they don't seem to realise there are shouts going in to kick it out over the sideline and get men behind the ball, this kind of thing.”

Gallagher concluded by saying the proposed new rules are having a negative effect on creativity: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion; the game doesn't belong to anybody but all I can say from a playing point of view is the boys don't want to play under those circumstances. “They just feel it is restrictive in their decision-making when they are trying to be creative.”

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