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‘If they review it and some of them don't go well, then they'll be pulled out or they'll be tweaked’

The GAA’s new proposed playing rules have drawn concerns amongst players.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

THE PROSPECT OF the GAA’s new rule changes for Gaelic football being potentially scrapped before the league, if they are to found cause major problems in the pre-season competitions, has been raised.

Colm Begley, the experienced Laois footballer and a new programme co-ordinator with the GPA, is adamant that the GPA are in support of new rules being trialled.

But he has shared the concern of players that the rules would come into operation before the league without any review.

GAA President John Horan and his GPA counterpart Paul Flynn met on Wednesday to discuss the rules. It was announced afterwards that a Central Council meeting on 19 January will undertake a review of the rules, a week before the 2019 Allianz football league commences.

A Central Council meeting last Saturday had sanctioned the trial of the new rules which involve kickouts, handpassing, a sin-bin, an attacking mark and sideline kicks.

GAA GPA PwC All Stars Tour Departure Source: David Fitzgerald/SPORTSFILE

“If they’re reviewed and they go well, then players will probably adapt to them pretty well in decent competitions,” said Begley, before he headed to Philadelphia as part of the travelling party for the 2018 PWC All-Stars tour.

“Not ideal, but it would happen. We can’t just say, ‘throw them out’. Maybe ideally next year they would have been put in place in the League if they went well. 

“If they review it and some of them don’t go well, then they’ll be pulled out or they’ll be tweaked. I think they’ll look at them, and if they’re not working or effective they won’t be involved in the League. That’s my understanding of it.”
Begley was keen to stress the importance that players place on the league and the worry that trying to adjust to new rules would impact on their individual performances.

“Paul and John met and just had a meeting about the new rules. I think the main points that Paul raised were that the GPA
are totally behind the new rules being implemented and tried out to try to help and change the game.

“The players are behind that. But I think the major concern for us and the members of the GPA was that these rules would be put into the league without review. 

“Obviously the league is a massive competition. Probably the primary competition for a lot of players. So the concern for our members was that these rules were going to be put into the league no matter what happened in pre-season. 

“Our viewpoint with that was that after the pre-season competition was that they would be reviewed and looked at. We have around 50 games in the pre-season competitions overall and that they’d be looked at individually to see whether they worked to improve the game. 

“And the GAA told us that on 19 January there will be a review for it. We’re happy enough with that, that’s all we can ask for. 

“The players aren’t against the new rules being put in place. These rules could be fantastic and if they are, then brilliant. 

“But it’s only a month and a half to the league, and they’re only being introduced now. It’s very hard for players to these new rules and implement them properly and change tactics if needs be. 

“That was our primary concern, and, in fairness to John and the GAA, they told us they’ll review it on the 19th which is good.”

Begley commenced a new role last week that wsee him working with the GPA.

“I was working with Laois GAA and the Leinster Council combined. Down there doing a GDA role. I started doing a job with the GPA last week, a new role, programme co-ordinator. 

“I started the role there last Monday. It’s a new full-time job, they employed two people. I’m working with the player welfare and player development and overseeing their projects and starting new projects as well. 

“A newly created job. Paul (Flynn) is trying to get a few new faces in, and, so far so good.” 

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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