Leinster GAA may experiment with 'interchange' system

Leinster GAA may experiment with 'interchange' system

The GAA's Leinster Council may use the Australian Rules-style interchange system for substitutes in next January's O'Byrne Cup, it has emerged.

Leinster GAA officials are set to meet on November 10 to discuss the implementation of the system on a trial basis in the early season senior inter-county football competition.

If implemented, it would mean that a manager could use more than five substitutions in a game, bringing them in and out as often as he wished.

Leinster Chairman Seamus Howlin says that if the system is put in place, managers could try out more than 20 players with the interchange system.

"Most people we've talked to believe it is a good idea. We have not put together the proposal yet but it would probably permit around four or five interchanges per half," he told the Irish Sun.

"It will allow managers and selectors to blood more players. It will also be a benefit for teams towards the end of games.

"In the past when they had used their five subs, they could bring no more on - even if somebody got injured."

Leinster GAA Games Development official Shane Flanagan is the brains behind the new idea.

The last time the GAA carried out an experiment in relation to substitutes was in the 2009 National Leagues. Then, under experimental rules teams were permitted to use six substitutions.

However, the rules failed to get past the experimental stage and were subsequently defeated at Congress.

Howlin added: "The idea we have would be similar to that which will be used in International Rules."

However it is envisaged that the interchange system will not be trialled in hurling.

"An interchange system like this could prolong careers. We remember Tyrone taking off Peter Canavan (in 2003) and putting him back on.

"We'll sit down and talk with the referees and see what their opinions are. But we'd hope to have a proposal in place for our meeting on November 10."

The system, pioneered in Australian Rules, is already in use for the International Rules competition which returns to Ireland next month with Test matches in Limerick (October 23) and Croke Park (October 30).

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