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16th Aug 2023

Philly McMahon’s question about strange schoolboy soccer rule sparks social media debate

Lee Costello

Philly McMahon

“What aload of b@!!@×”

Dublin GAA legend Philly McMahon took to Twitter to highlight a strange rule in schoolboy soccer that he had never heard of before, and it’s an interesting one.

Obviously the former defender is more known for his success on the Gaelic football pitch than the soccer one, but before McMahon went on to pick up his eight All-Ireland medals, he was a handy footballer too.

The now BBC pundit even had trials with Nottingham Forest in his youth, but like all promising athletes in school who played multiple sports, he eventually had to pick one and put all his eggs in that basket.

His interest in soccer was still always strong, and now, after watching a schoolboy match, he witnessed a rule being implemented that he had never heard of before.

Taking to Twitter McMahon asked: “I just heard if you say “leave it” in schoolboy soccer it’s a free against you. Is that true? If yes, why?”

It’s one of those rules that rarely comes up in a game but can leave a few people scratching their heads whenever a referee blows for it.

The natural reaction whenever you see a loose ball spill and favours you, is to should “leave it” so no teammate will go for it and get tangled up.

However, the rule was put in place to encourage gamesmanship and prevent players from tricking the opposition into not going for possession.

You are instead encouraged to use your name in this situation, so in this case, McMahon would shout “Philly’s ball” and no rule would have been infringed.

It did spark a lively debate on social media, but it was clear that the Dubliner did not agree with the rule.

“What aload of b@!!@×  Ball rolls across outside the box the offensive teams player runs Lateral across but a player facing the goal, is perfectly aligned to have a shot “says leave it” bang cracker!

“Ref blows whistle free out. Kids deflated, who benefits bar opposition.”

In fairness, there are bizarre rules in lots of sports that don’t seem to have much weight or merit behind them, like how you cant have a beard in amateur boxing matches or just generally the advanced mark in Gaelic football.

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