GAA Football

Water breaks became more about tactical boards than water bottles

Water breaks have outlived their use in the GAA

FORMER Antrim goalkeeper Chris Kerr has echoed the sentiments of many by hailing the end of water breaks in Gaelic Games, insisting that it had reached the point where you were seeing “more tactical boards than water bottles”.

Yesterday, the GAA announced water breaks would end with immediate effect and two Maoir Uisce per team would be used around the perimeter of the playing area to provide water for players.

Water breaks were deemed a temporary measure during the pandemic to ensure players were properly hydrated during games and to safeguard against the sharing of water bottles.

But with the vast majority of COVID restrictions lifted, the GAA has removed the water breaks – one in each half – as they had “morphed into something else”, according to the GAA’s Communications Director Alan Milton and were “causing an unnatural break in the play”.

Rather than being regarded as an opportunity for player hydration, managers and coaches used the 60-second intervals as tactical breaks.

“Players are still going to have to identify their own bottles going forward,” Milton added.

Asked if he ever envisaged a return of water breaks, the GAA official said: “Never say never with anything related to COVID, but there seems to have been a seismic shift in figures and everything being based on data and science that we won’t be going back and I don’t think there'll be a clamour for going back to water breaks either.”

In a statement the GAA said selectors, coaches, substitutes, injured players or members of the extended panel would not be allowed to act as Maoir Uisce, deeming it as a breach of rule.

“I could see the reasoning behind bringing in the water breaks,” said Kerr, “with players coming back from a long lay-off, and especially when you looked at the amount of injuries coming out of the Bundesliga. But they quickly became more of a tactical break than anything else.”

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GAA Football