i skipped the last 20 or so posts here cos i’m supposed to be cooking so dont have time to read but hopefully my point is still relevant.
the game has gone to shite over the last 15-20 years, especially in ulster, with fermanagh being the most painful county i can remember watching over that period, followed by donegal. it has often resembled rugby league with these 2 (though not alone) with hoardes of players swinging out of the man in possession until he coughs it up or the game is stopped for a free, often every 15 seconds. when in possession, you have the same scrumb like bunch literally THROWING the ball 2 yards at a time to each other. not one can kick it. not gaelic football.
having said all that, i’ll now seem like a clown by saying dublin’s win over tyrone last year was one of the most enjoyable games i ever watched. not the way dublin want to play but they can if forced and the technical accuracy of what they produced just had to be admired and the tactical battle-of-wits was enthralling. i wouldn’t want to watch it every week though and my wife who is not irish watched it at home and said it was “a boring load of shit”. the difference in how the casual fan and the diehard perceive these games is important cos it has big implications for attendances.
one other point on this- i was laying flooring when fixing up the house a few years ago and pulled out old newspapers from under the floorboards from when the house was built in 1952. of course i went straight to the sports pages of the irish press and no surprise that the resident gaa writer at the time was a kirrrrraa man. anyway, the thrust of his article was “when did football become playing the man and not the ball?” that will tell how long the same shit has been going on in the game and nothing done about it. my point is that the game would never have reached the state it is in now with defensive systems/no kicking/ no risk, etc if the handpass and the tackle were properly addressed. no basketball/rugby league shit if you have to use a closed fist to handpass instead of throwing it with one hand and tipping it with 2 fingers on the way out. no flocks of sheep passing the ball 2 foot each time if you have to kickpass after 4 handpasses. its easy done as we know from compromise rules last year. no forest of arms and legs tripping/dragging/slapping the man in possession if only 2 men are allowed in the “tackle-zone” at a time. some simple changes that have been crying out for decades would solve a lot of the crap.