Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox
2019 sees the trial of some new rules. They should be given a chance to show how advantageous the rules will be, once players get used to them.
It’s not rocket science, and most people who can count the simplest equation can quickly make decisions.
So we should not be too worried about our referees catching on to anyone who passes the ball four times instead of three.
Okay, of course they will initially miss the odd breach here and there, but that shouldn’t alter the result terribly one way or another. It takes time to let new rules take hold, but really not too much.
By the time the championship starts all should be going easily without faltering, and I would trust referees to take care of the game as they always have. With genuine focus and good intent.
Umpires should be encouraged more, and we must try and bring some new blood into the association's match day efforts.
It’s really tough to make a quick alert decision once anyone passes the age when wits are slightly slower, when moving quickly isn’t as easy as it once was, and when all the limbs aren’t as flexible as they once were. I’m not being ageist, simply recognising another aspect of the GAA which must be addressed.
Referees should be encouraged not to pick up the first people who come to mind for match days - this area has become much better it must be said - and try to insist that match day officials are alert and able to react quickly. Football is a very fast game nowadays.
Hurling is even faster, so we must endeavour to enforce the need for youthful umpires.
It’s the least that players deserve.