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Majority of experimental rules are shot down

17 April 2010

Most of the experimental playing rules which were implemented in this year's National Leagues were rejected at last night's opening session of Congress in Newcastle, Co. Down.

First to be given the chop by delegates was the proposal to introduce the closed-fist pass. And the Aussie Rules-style 'mark', which was initially well received, also suffered a similar fate.

Speaking in favour of the 'mark', Football Rules Committee chairman Seamus Woods said it was designed to encourage high fielding. He noted that in last year's All-Ireland final, only nine catches were made. At one stage it looked as if this motion might succeed, but a show of hands called for by president Christy Cooney indicated that it wouldn't have the necessary two-thirds support.

The change to the 'square ball' rule - which would allow the attacking player to be in the small square before a ball is kicked in - was also thrown out. Former Armagh captain Jarlath Burns made a strong case for its adoption and was supported by Ulster Council secretary Danny Murphy, but it still didn't receive the required support.

The recommendation that half-time and full-time should not be called until the ball has gone out of play and over any boundary line was heavily defeated.

Only two of the experimental rules were adopted - moving penalty kicks two metres closer to the goal (from 13 to 11 metres) and standardising all kick-outs from the 13-metre line.

There was strong support for a Central Council proposal that playing panels at inter-county senior level should be limited to 26. It means a change from current practice of having 24 players in the official panel for the league and 30 for championship. 


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