Footage of the worst thing about the new mark rule in Gaelic football 1 year ago

Footage of the worst thing about the new mark rule in Gaelic football

There could be something in it.

There's a reward for being proactive, for thinking long and offensively and there's a reward for accuracy and one for catching.

Catch and kick is what they love and that's what they can get too with the new mark but the change between the initial proposal in October and the actual trial of it was unnecessary.

Originally, the idea of the offensive mark was to encourage long kicking and to reward a full forward who could catch the ball cleanly in such a crowded area. Imagine Aidan O'Shea going up for Mayo and plucking a ball from the skies; by the time he comes back down, he's being beaten within an inch of his life and it's usually allowed because he's a big man.

So the initial rule proposed that a mark would be awarded for a kick beyond the 45' that is caught inside the 20'. A defender would also be given a mark for catching cleanly.

But, for no apparent or decent reason, it was changed for experimentation. Now, a mark can be obtained anywhere inside the 45', as long as the kick is 20 metres long from beyond the 45'.

Over the weekend, the good and the bad of that new mark was to be seen in two different games - the good, incidentally, coming from a play that would've garnered a mark in the old proposal.

Tyrone beat Armagh in the McKenna Cup final and the clinching score came from a long Kyle Coney pass that was launched from just beyond the 45' and caught inside the 20' for a handy free and an assurance point.

However, in the Dublin and Westmeath game in the O'Byrne Cup, the problems with the new amendment to the rule were there for everyone to see.

With a little pop pass backwards initially - just to navigate around the now extinct hand pass proposal - Westmeath kick forward to an unmarked man who's at least 35 metres from goals and decides take the mark.

That stops the game, it rewards very little, and it kills both attacking adventure and defensive skill.

Sean Brady, star of the Underdogs, highlighted the fallacy in the rule.

If the mark was reverted to inside the 20' only, it would mean that the pass would have to be longer, riskier and the catch would generally - you'd hope - be under pressure because, most of the time, players are going to be picked up and hounded that deep beneath the posts.

The rule has changed though. And free kicks can be sought anywhere inside the 45' - as long as the referee can accurately gauge what a 20-metre pass is.