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Dublin: 3°C Saturday 17 April 2021

'We're only one rule away from the game becoming like Australian Rules' - Jim Gavin

The former Dublin boss was speaking on the JC DC Am Seo Podcast.

Jim Gavin [file photo].
Jim Gavin [file photo].
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

FORMER DUBLIN FOOTBALL manager Jim Gavin says the rules of Gaelic football are close to being comparable to the ones that exist in Aussie Rules.

Gavin, who stepped down 2019 after Dublin’s five-in-a-row success, has questioned the logic behind some of the recent rule changes in GAA and says the introduction of the forward mark was a “wrong step”.

Gavin was speaking on the JC DC Am Seo Podcast with presenters Jonathan Courtenay and former Dublin star Diarmuid Connolly when he outlined his feelings around the rules of the game.

He also referred to his work in aviation as a comparison for how he investigates problems and solutions in his profession to illustrate his frustration with the GAA rules. 

“I accept that rules change. There’s always an evolution. What I don’t understand is the logic behind them

“When I see some of the rules committees, and even the current one, giving statistics behind games, it’s like me doing an air accident investigation and just looking at the flight data recorder and the flight data recorder is going to tell me everything that went on in the flight.

jim-gavin-and-diarmuid-connolly-celebrate-after-the-game Diarmuid Connolly pictured with Jim Gavin. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“You need the cockpit voice recorder. I need to know about the training that the pilots were under, I need to know the organisation culture, the environment, the value set, and that will inform me what the root cause of the accident was.

“So I don’t think we have gone in deep enough to see what the root cause is of, you know, the particular style of play.

“Why do Dublin play that possession game and stretch teams across and probe them?”

He continued:

“Some of the rules, like, they they’ve introduced a more recent one with the forward mark, I think it was a wrong step.

“We’re only one rule away from the game becoming like Australian rules, on a rectangular pitch.

“So if we introduce tackling, as in the rugby tackle, like what difference is there from Aussie Rules? Because you can call a mark from a kick-out. You can call a mark from both defensively and offensively when it’s kicked into the scoring zone in an attacking play.

“If you introduce a rugby or an Aussie Rules tackle, sure what’s the difference? There’s a fine line and of course we want to promote skills.

“The kick-out mark has been good but the reason they had to introduce it was because they weren’t enforcing the tackle and the tackle isn’t really that well defined in Gaelic football.

“So that’s the root cause of it. Why are guys being mauled when they win a kick-out? It’s because they could get away with it. Because the tackle was so ill-defined.

“So there’s a little bit of work to be done on that. But I don’t want to be too critical of them because they’ve done a phenomenal amount of work and research but give me the root cause and then I’ll give you the answer.”

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Elsewhere in the podcast, Gavin recounted a time when he was shouldered by Dublin star James McCarthy after substituting him during an U21 game.

He told McCarthy “it just wasn’t your day” after taking him off before reintroducing him later in the game which they went on to win.

Gavin also talked about the standards they held in the Dublin camp during his time at the helm. He said he always asked the players if they felt he wasn’t performing his role to a sufficient level for them.

“Every year, we’d stand up and say, ‘If we’re not serving your needs, fellas, just say Jim, you’ve lost the energy. And get rid of me as such.’ It worked both ways.

“If I felt [that] it’s just not for you this year or that you’ve maybe lost a little bit of focus on what’s required at this level, just go back to the club and try to hit the reset button. Your life is defined by the choices you make.”

You can listen to the podcast in full here.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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