GAA Football

Shot clock could cure the main ill of Gaelic football: Clare boss Colm Collins

Clare manager Colm Collins feels a shot clock might work to blot out long periods of passive possession Picture Margaret McLaughlin.
Brendan Crossan

CLARE’S senior football manager Colm Collins believes a shot clock could be a way of stopping teams holding onto possession for long periods in games – but isn’t in favour of some proposed experimental rule changes that will be trialled later this year.

Roscommon holding onto the ball for almost six minutes against Dublin, which included 77 consecutive passes, perhaps gave some substance to the notion that Gaelic football is in need of some tweaks.

Collins, though, was quick to add he probably isn’t the best person to ask about the state of the game.

“You’re asking the wrong man,” the Clare boss smiled. “I grew up with football and I’d watch a bad football game and get something out of it.

“I can understand what people are saying but we’ve done a lot of tinkering with the rules of football and we basically have been moving the deckchairs around the Titanic.

“What we need to address is those long periods where possession is being held. If we can address that, I think we have a fine product.”

The GAA’s Standing Committee on Playing Rules will trial a couple of experimental playing rules at Higher Education Freshers level involving the kick-out, free-kick and side-line kick.

Along with trying to encourage longer kick-outs, the experimental playing rules would ban free-kicks and sideline balls being kicked backwards within the two 20-metre lines. A hop ball would be the proposed punishment.

Collins has described these new rule trials as “absolute rubbish”.

“That’s a thing we need to address, that no team can hang onto the ball for that length of time so that you have to use the ball.

“I’m not the smartest man in this area, but something like a shot clock. You have the ball for so long, you’ve got to get your shot off.

“I think that would be very entertaining and at this level it would be no hassle to get that going and even at club level referees counting when a team has got possession.”

Collins watched his Clare side bow out of the All-Ireland series on Sunday following their narrow loss to Monaghan, which means the Banner men will finish bottom of group four with a game against Derry still to play on June 17.

Asked if the new All-Ireland group stages has legs, Collins said: “I believe it has, I think it’s fantastic. For a change, that everyone has something to play for.

“We’re devastated that we didn’t get something out of the Monaghan game but there’s no question that it’s fantastic.

“I was glued to the Kerry-Cork game. Obviously, we’ll have to refine a few things in it. I suppose it’s a bit ridiculous that you only lose four teams (in the round-robin stages) but apart from that I think it’s the way to go. The effort fellas put in every year, it’s the least they deserve.”

GAA Football