Three handpasses won’t stop a blanket defence, says Cork star
CORK football star Paul Kerrigan has reservations about the proposed new rule-changes in the game, believing that implementing them properly is too much of a task for one referee.
Last week, the GAA revealed that it was looking at experimental changes such as a sin bin to replace the current black-card system, an attacking ‘mark’, limiting the number of consecutive handpasses to three, limiting the number of players between the 45s for a kickout to four and preventing the playing of sideline kicks in a backward direction.
While Nemo Rangers clubman Kerrigan isn’t averse to change, he feels it may be a case of too much, too soon.
‘If they do come in, my opinion is that there are too many of them,’ he says.
‘I would say try one, two at a time, there are five listed out and the problem is a lot of them need two refs – it’s very hard counting handpasses, counting players inside the 45, taking note of the mark inside the 20, what if the ref is back the field?
‘I don’t like that one, it’s very Aussie Rules, it’s not really our game.
‘A lot of them are to counteract negative football, but three handpasses still isn’t going to stop a blanket defence. I think it just needs some thought and not a huge overhaul.
‘I think the sin-bin would be the best one and maybe the handpasses are worth looking at, but I think three is too little, maybe six, like in the international rules.’
Injuries, Cork’s poor form and Nemo Rangers’ uncharacteristically early exit from the county SFC at the quarter-final stage combined to make 2018 what Kerrigan described as his worst year, but it has also left him keen to bounce back strongly next year.
As the only survivor from the 2010 All-Ireland win, he feels he has an important role to play.
‘Definitely, the way last year went, I wanted to come back and give it a proper go,’ he says.
‘I didn’t really train during the summer and the team didn’t do ourselves justice.
‘There are some nice young lads there and I’ll try my best, my onus is to help them and to help Cork turn that corner.’
As to how that is done, well, it’s a harder question to answer.
‘I think the consistency level isn’t there,’ Kerrigan says.
‘If you at the league, win one or get a draw and be well beaten in the next one and it’s something that has to be rectified.
‘We’ve just found it hard in the last couple of years to win back-to-back games or three in a row.
‘It’s a bit early yet to be thinking about what we’re going to do to find that consistency but we just have to turn the corner. I think we’ve good enough players, it’s just about having a cohesive squad and going in the one direction, putting in good performances.
‘Division 2 is going to be very hard next year, Kildare and Donegal are down, Fermanagh and Armagh are up, we have a lot of away games.
‘I wouldn’t say there’s one particular thing but whatever we need to find to get that consistency, we have to find it.’