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'No need to be introducing some other daft notion' - Limerick boss unhappy with GAA maor foirne plan

John Kiely is against the motion going forward to Congress this weekend.

Limerick manager John Kiely with team coach and maor foirne Paul Kinnerk.
Limerick manager John Kiely with team coach and maor foirne Paul Kinnerk.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

LIMERICK MANAGER JOHN Kiely has hit out at a proposal to end the role of the maor foirne which will go before the GAA’s Annual Congress this weekend.

The motion brought forward by Central Council is seeking to rule that a team official, including the maor foire, cannot enter the field of play unless the referee gives permission to a team medical officer or authorised official to examine an injured player.

Some high-profile incidents in recent seasons, such as Dublin’s Greg Kennedy catching a free from Kilkenny’s TJ Reid in Nowlan Park last May, have prompted GAA chiefs to examine entries onto the pitch by individuals.

But Kiely feels it should be tackled differently without introducing what he describes as ‘a daft notion’.

“Why is it being done? Why has the proposal gone forward for the maor foirne to be done away with? It’s because of another problem and the other problem is some people aren’t leaving the pitch in the designated fashion that is required. In other words, ‘get off the field and don’t be loitering around preventing a goalkeeper from kicking or pucking a ball into that space.’

“That’s why it’s happening. Let’s call a spade a spade. We see it every single weekend where certain individuals are staying on the pitch and/or exiting the pitch through a space. In my opinion, in a circumstance such as that the fourth official should be given the power to yellow card the (team) official who does go in and stand (on the field). And if he does it a second time it’s a red and he’s up in the stand and that’s the end of it.

“If that was done on a couple of occasions, the mentors who are persisting in this type of behaviour would quickly adjust their behaviour and exit the field in an appropriate fashion. There are plenty of mechanisms for them to be dealt with. There is no need to be introducing some other daft notion.”

The 2018 All-Ireland winning boss feels it is a vital role on match days for teams. Highly-regarded coach Paul Kinnerk fills the role for Limerick.

“That is the only issue with the maor foirnes there at the moment. For me, why would you do away with a particular role which is an absolutely vital role in managing the team on the day of the games to help facilitate the best possible game we can? Just because some people are flouting the law on it. Would you now just enforce the law?

“It’s like speeding and you take away the cars – we won’t have a problem with speeding. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. The issue is with the behaviour of a small amount of people and they need to be dealt with and there have been ample opportunities to deal with them. 

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“We need people to access the field because of situations like Richie English (who tore his cruciate against Galway recently). We have medical people but they need to stay with the player. We have the maor foirne there who can run between the injured player and the sideline to let us know what is the situation and what’s the best course of action.

“That is just one aspect of it. It is a vital role on match-day and if it is taken away we are going to create another problem. What you’re going to end up with then is people actually encroaching onto the pitch that shouldn’t be encroaching onto the pitch at all. We are creating another problem by dealing with it like this. I think it is very manageable if they just put their mind to it.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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