Counihan wants rule changes trialled before implementation

Cork boss Conor Counihan believes several of the Football Review Committee’s playing rule recommendations need to be trialled before they are voted on.

Counihan is concerned fundamental proposals will be up for debate at Central Council and Congress before they are seen in practice.

He is backing recommendations such as the scrapping of the pick-up being implemented as soon as possible.

However, he fears rule changes such as making a yellow card a sending off offence need to be put into operation in next year’s league before being put in front of delegates.

“I haven’t studied them in detail but there are certainly some things that would seem good ideas,” said Counihan.

“I just feel it’s important these things are trialled before they are brought in. They should be trialled next year before they’re put into place.

“One thing on paper can turn out to be quite another thing in reality and there has to be careful consideration when you’re looking at these things.

“If there’s a good trial period given and if the measures are shown to be progressive then people will have a better idea before they are voted on.”

The yellow card rule was trialled in the 2010 National League but Counihan feels referees are still unclear about what constitutes fouls and what punishment should be exacted for the different types of fouls.

“Referees have a job to do but then they are being monitored by assessors and their interpretations of what a referees does can differ from one person to the next.

“When that’s happening you have to look to the top at who is giving this message because it has to be loud, clear and consistent.

“Some guys implement the rules and then there are others who do it another way. All we want is people to be refereeing the same way.”

Counihan has no issue with the pick-up rule coming to an end as soon as possible. “The pick-up is definitely worth getting rid of straight away. I think it slows the whole thing down. The chip (into the hands) is still there and that’s a very fine skill that only some players can do but I wouldn’t consider the pick-up to be like it.”

Counihan begins his sixth season in charge of Cork when they face Cork IT in their McGrath Cup opener on Sunday and he’ll do so with an experimental side due to injuries, holidays and college commitments.

Up to a dozen players are unavailable. Daniel Goulding and Graham Canty are nursing injuries while Paddy Kelly won’t be back until late February or early March after his hip operation.

Aidan Walsh’s availability to Cork in the competition is still up in the air as he appeals a recently-introduced rule which prevents him from lining out for DCU, who start the defence of their O’Byrne Cup on Sunday.

“We’ll obviously be looking at players albeit some of the player of interest will be tied up with third level colleges,” said Counihan. “But it’s an opportunity to see what talent is available and who is performing.

“We’ll also be looking at our existing players, seeing what shape they’re in and what hunger they have.

“The fact that the more senior lads are prepared to give it another go suggests they believe they can go the necessary step further and hopefully that is the case.

“It’s early days to be talking about it but we’ve a good basis to work from.”

Counihan insists Cork are intent on setting out to win a fourth consecutive Division One title this spring.

“We’re always looking for consistency in performance and the further we have progressed in the league the better it has prepared us for the Championship.

“If you make the final invariably you’re only four or five weeks away from the start of the Munster championship. Whereas if you don’t make it, you’re looking at a gap of eight to nine weeks.

“It’s a competitive situation and you want that. If you’re not up for it you can easily find yourself in a relegation situation.”

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