The former chairperson of County Wicklow GAA has criticised the introduction of a free-taking competition to decide drawn matches.
Martin Coleman said that the new set-up was an “unfair” and “hard way to lose a game”, and that “players deserve that [replays] at least” in the event of a drawn game.
This comes just a day after Meath and Longford took part in a free-taking competition to decide their O’Byrne Cup semi-final after drawing 1-19 to 2-16, with the Royals claiming a 2-1 win over Longford after James McGivney’s final free failed to hit the target.
Coleman said that the GAA needs to look at the volume of matches that are being played, rather than use this new rule to avoid replays.
The former County GAA chair made direct reference to the Super Eights, saying “we need to look at the manner in which we have the Super Eights” before claiming that this particular set-up was for the “Super top teams”.
He also said that the volume of games at county level is having a detrimental effect on club teams, saying: “Club players won’t play a lot of games until their counties are knocked out of the championship.”
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However, both the Meath and the Longford managers had no problem with the new rule.
Andy McEntee, the Meath boss, told the Irish Daily Star: “It was exciting. I spoke to a few people afterwards and they seemed to enjoy how it finished, probably more than I did.
“It’s tough, if you’re after playing 70 minutes, plus 20 minutes of extra-time, and then you’re asked to kick it that distance like, I didn’t realise it was a 50-yard free. […] But look, in a competition like that, when the final has to be played next weekend, what’s wrong with it?”
McEntee’s Longford counterpart, Denis Connerton, accepted the rationale behind the rule: “We had to have an outcome today. It’s new and what more can I say about it? I hadn’t thought about it beforehand and we won’t be encountering it again in all likelihood.”