Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox: Introduction of deliberate foul line would improve football

Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox: Introduction of deliberate foul line would improve football

Jimmy Hannify called me on Thursday evening last, to say that he agreed with what I wrote on Longford following the Laois game, and concurred with the view that they had the ability to win the match.

We talked about the Laois game and many Longford players looking far too slow, on the day, for the role.

We talked of how Longford shouldn't be too downhearted, since in 1964 Longford lost every one of eight league games they played, the last one being against Leitrim. 

That proved the catalyst. Just over a year later they were league champions.

The players must lead the charge.

As always, chatting to Jimmy is very stimulating, with many outbreaks of great humour for good measure. 

One of the great Longford players.

We returned to a topic which we discussed when we did an interview for the Leader some time back, when, as we talked of present day GAA issues, we'd touched on the black card and both agreed that it's a good rule but is abused by players in every game once it comes to the latter stages. 

From the outset, I always maintained that something should be done to prevent players from hauling down another - as Anthony Maher of Kerry did in the league final. I don't blame Maher, he's just the latest to abuse the black card rule, by pulling down an opponent. 

He looked nonchalant, indeed mildly regretful, as he resignedly walked to the line after 'taking one for the team'.

This was a simple case of job done, since he'd pulled the Dublin player breaking through midfield, making it a difficult free to convert, so far from goal.

Dean Rock made a good attempt but the ball strayed wide.

Anthony Maher was probably the most congratulated of Kerry players in the dressing room. Sure why wouldn't he, since fouling deliberately, saved his team.

In this case, the black card is a great tool for the winning team to employ.

This is something that is hard to swallow, at times, as we see games being slowed, and a player being sent off, as the clock ticks away.

I support the black card, but as it stands it's doing nothing meaningful for the GAA.

A good idea is being cheaply used to turn the black card into a means of assisting a win.

Jimmy Hannify has what I think is a great idea.

Hannify says that he'd improve the rules by introducing a DFL to Gaelic Games.

The DFL is short for Deliberate Foul Line.

This foul line would be 40 metres from goal.

If a player is deliberately brought down, which wouldn't happen very often - look at how few black cards are issued - the free-taker can take the subsequent free from the forty metre line, dead straight in front of goals.

Additionally, the free would count as two points.

That should make players think carefully about pulling an opponent to the ground to prevent them getting in scoring distance.

If a team is losing by a point, it would not be advisable to incur a Deliberate Foul, as that free would be taken from the forty metre line, and would be worth two points.

That should instil a new attitude in Gaelic Football.