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18th May 2021

“We have a good game, why keep looking to change it?” – The new penalty rule is causing real issues in Gaelic football

Lee Costello

 “A team is going to be beat in the championship because of this rule.”

In classic GAA fashion, another new rule has been added to our games. Every year it feels like there are new rules introduced, old rules taken out, trial rules, sin bins, different coloured cards and the sport is becoming impossible to officiate.

On the latest episode of The GAA Hour, Colm Parkinson explains what and where this latest rule came from: “This new rule [is] a penalty for a foul inside the 20m line or the arc,” explained Wooly.

“It’s on trial for this year which is the only saviour – we might only have to put up with this for one year because this just doesn’t work.

“A hurling referee, Willie Barrett, proposed this and it went to the standing committee on Playing Rules and they okay’d it, then it went to congress and it was voted in 168 votes to 108.

“This whole debate was about hurling because cynical play was creeping into hurling. Hurling people pushed back very, very hard on the black card because they saw the controversy it caused in Gaelic football and a compromise that came up was that hurling needed to do something, so let’s make it a foul inside the 20m line or the arc and we will clean this thing up in hurling.

“How has it came to a situation that this has just been pushed into Gaelic football?”

Kildare legend, Johnny Doyle was equally frustrated at the introduction of this rule: “The first thing I have a problem with in hurling is having that ‘oh we have to clean it up, we have to clean it up’… why, what’s wrong with our games?”‘

“Hurling is a great game, to sit down and watch a good game of hurling is great. We bring this big rule in, nobody really understands it, everyone’s half guessing, officials are not really sure what it is – it’s just a big mess.

“I guarantee you, this time next week we will be talking about more incidents and in fairness to referees, they have so much to be looking after, they have so much to see, it’s nearly gone to an impossible job for referees.”

The new rule has only been implemented for one week so far and it has already caused disruptive shock waves throughout Gaelic football, the first example being in the Dublin v Roscommon game when referee Derek O’Mahoney penalised Brian Stack for pulling back Paddy Small, resulting in an awarded penalty for the Dubs.

Although some might argue that the rule wouldn’t realistically have changed the end result of that match either way, what happens when it ends up being the difference in big games down the line?

“A team is going to be beat in the championship by this rule,” claimed Doyle. “It’s going to happen, before the championship is over. A team is going to lose because of a half-arsed rule brought in and we don’t really know why it was brought in.

“I don’t know where these rules come from, we have a good game, why keep looking to change it all the time?

“Have we gone three consecutive years without a rule change in the last 20?”

You can Listen to the full discussion on The GAA Hour now!


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