With our opening game in next year’s FBD League now little more than two weeks away, it’s a good time, I guess, for a small reminder about the experimental rules that are being trialled in the pre-season tournaments and, possibly, in the upcoming League campaign too.
Already these changes have morphed from theory into practice, with the action having begun over the last few weekends in both the O’Byrne and McKenna Cups. So far at least, it appears that none of the changes being road-tested have provoked much in the way of outrage.
Rule 2 provides for sideline kicks to be played in a forward direction only (unless it’s a restart taken from within an opponent’s 20 metre line), while Rule 3, the advanced Mark, provides for an attacking player to be able to claim a Mark when cleanly catching a pass that has been played from the 45-metre line (or further back) and which has travelled at least 20 metres before the Mark is claimed. This is the graphic on these two rules but note also the clarification issued since by the GAA, explained in a piece in today’s Irish Examiner – here.
Rule 4 implements a 10-minute Sin Bin penalty for black card offences while Rule 5 provides for all kick-outs to be taken from the 20-metre line, with all other players outside that line and beyond the semi-circular arc, as well as being at least 13 metres away from where the kick-out is being taken. Here’s the graphic on these two rules.
There was a fair bit of caterwauling in advance about the experimental rules but, as noted, the reaction arising from their use in the few pre-season matches that have already been played has been far more muted. Personally, I have an open mind on the changes and I’m quite looking forward to seeing how they fare out over the coming weeks. I think there’s a lot of sense in the GAA’s decision – made following a meeting last month with the GPA – to review how the rules have fared out in pre-season before making a final decision on whether or not to continue with them in the League as well.