Referee pulls Derry for just one handpass 9 months ago

Referee pulls Derry for just one handpass

Players are struggling, managers are complaining, referees are under pressure.

Listen, the hand pass restriction was never going to be an overnight success. For it to be given its best chance though, teams would have to spend months getting accustomed to it in training and judging by Donegal manager Declan Bonner's comments that he hasn't given it the light of day, that may not have been the case.

Something has to give though.

Over the last few years, players have become reliant on the handpass as a handy get out of jail card when they're under pressure. Often, it doesn't require too much skill, it doesn't even require them to break stride.

So why wouldn't they use it?

There is a general acceptance, however, that Gaelic football has been suffering all the while. The kick pass is seen less and less and slow, delayed and methodical build-up play has become the norm.

The new rules were introduced to try and combat this, to reward the toughest and most glorious skill in gaelic football - the kickpass, and to encourage more attack-based systems.

The fact that they're not yet guaranteed to be a part of the upcoming League may have caused managers like Bonner, not to take them too seriously but based on the evidence of the last few years, some change has to be made and these should be just the first steps along the road.

One argument that has been peddled against the rule is that referees already have enough on their plates not to be troubled with the added pressure that comes up with totting up hand passes.

On Sunday, in the McKenna Cup game that Derry lost to Tyrone by three points, this concern very much came to light.

On two separate occasions, Down referee Ciaran Branagan appeared to have been confused by the number of handpasses made, pulling Derry once for just two handpasses(they're allowed three in succession) and once for just the one handpass.

Cue groans from the crowd and frustrations amongst players.

Is it too much pressure for referees?