22 May 2022

Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox: Gaelic football is dying on its feet

Croke Park

Croke Park bosses need to address the hand pass rule in order to make the game more appealing as a spectacle to patrons.

Croke Park opened for 2019 with a treble bill, on Saturday, February 2.

First Laois and Louth met in the second round of division 3.

Laois were surprised. Louth, won by 3-8 to 1-9.Maybe a high price for the deserved change of venue.
Second, the ladies of Dublin met Donegal who caused a shock when beating the reigning All Ireland champions by 1-11 to 1-7.

The main main event saw Dublin take on Galway at 7pm.

No shocks this time.

A poor crowd attended, showing that not every game involving Galway is a crowd puller. A few maroon supporters were in evidence, but a pittance compared to the following enjoyed by, for example Mayo, Kerry, or Tyrone for that matter.

The game between the Dubs and the Tribesmen, opened with several missed chances by Kevin Walsh’s side and at this stage the Dubs looked quite shaky in defence.

But Galway spurned so many great chances, that inevitably Dublin became a smoother machine, and realised that Galway weren’t going to trouble them.

Nor did they. When the home team pulled ahead the Dubs went totally defensive as Galway played the ball around the midway mark, while the audience snoozed off.
Dublin obliged by hitting them only on the counter attack.

At least in the rugby we could complain about the outrageous physicality on show, scandalous head hits, every second tackle.

Whereas unless the GAA wakes up, and insists that the ball may not be played back to the goalkeeper from further out than ten metres, football won’t attract many of those rather important group known as the punters. It must also address the hand pass.

The game is dying on its feet.

Thank goodness for hurling.

For the first time ever, we left Croke Park about fifteen minutes into the second half.
Both football fanatics, yet bored out of our minds.

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