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'Too much reward for such a basic skill' - Mannion doesn't see point in advanced mark

‘I think what’s actually going to happen is teams looking for easy 30-yard passes that shouldn’t be rewarded with such an easy shot on goal.’

Paul Mannion was speaking at the launch of eir Sport's Allianz Leagues coverage which starts on 25 January.
Paul Mannion was speaking at the launch of eir Sport's Allianz Leagues coverage which starts on 25 January.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

DUBLIN STAR PAUL Mannion says he is unconvinced that there is merit to the ‘advanced mark’ in Gaelic football, and believes the rule could set the sport backwards.

At GAA Congress in Cork last year, the new rule was came to pass wherein a player will be awarded a mark after catching a ball that has been kicked 20 metres or more from outside the 45′. The catcher then has 15 seconds to kick the ball.

This advanced mark rule will come to fruition on the field of play when the Allianz Football League gets under way in two Saturdays’ time.

And Mannion, who may line out for the Dubs in their opening fixture against Kerry — a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland final — is scarcely enthused by the prospect.

“I appreciate the intent behind it – I see what they’re trying to do but I just don’t think it will have the desired effect,” he said.

I think what’s actually going to happen is teams looking for small, easy, 30-yard passes that shouldn’t be rewarded with such an easy shot on goal. If it’s a big, booming crossfield kick pass and it’s caught magnificently out of the air, sure, I can see [the merit in that being rewarded]. That’s why I’m sure the rule was brought in to encourage but I just don’t see that happening. In the league, there were far too short passes that were not spectacular, that would have happened anyway, that were then rewarded with a shot on goal. It was too much reward for such a basic skill.

“I don’t see it having that much of a positive impact.”

eir-sport-allianz-leagues-fixtures-launch eir sport today announced the details of its 2020 Allianz Leagues coverage. On hand for the launch were Cork’s Alan Cadogan, Wexford’s Rory O'Connor, Dublin’s Paul Mannion and Kerry’s Paul Geaney, as well as eir pundit Joe Brolly. Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

The 26-year-old is, like many, of the belief that last year’s All-Ireland and its subsequent replay are evidence enough that there was insufficient cause for such a rule change.

While he’s open to the possibility of the advanced mark transpiring to be beneficial in the overall scheme of things, Mannion fears it could also spark a move toward piling players back in order to congest defences.

“There are other ways you can tweak the game without having to bring in a mark like that,” he said.

A good Gaelic football game doesn’t need any rule changes. It just seems to be too rash and forced a rule to bring in. It’s a shame.

“Look, I could be wrong. I remember being sceptical about the kick-out mark and that’s turned out to be quite positive.

“It’s a different one for defenders,” he added.

Teams are getting more defensive instead of going and gambling, trying to punch and break a ball away. They can concede a mark instead of leaving themselves vulnerable for a goal. It’s a really tricky one for defenders to manage. It could have the oppositive effect with teams putting more people behind the ball to just clog up defences.

“Previously, a kick pass into the corner might not have caused any danger if the forward still had his back to goal. It will be interesting to see what happens.”

eir sport has announced the details of its 2020 Allianz Leagues coverage, on hand for the launch were Cork’s Alan Cadogan, Wexford’s Rory O’Connor, Dublin’s Paul Mannion and Kerry’s Paul Geaney. Over seven weekends eir sport will broadcast a total of 15 football and hurling games. The coverage kicks off on Saturday 25 January, with the home of Saturday night live GAA action broadcasting three matches across its channels.

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