Martin McHugh: 'Ulster coaches have destroyed Gaelic football'

Martin McHugh has blamed Ulster coaches for destroying football.

The Donegal man, who managed Cavan to their last Ulster title and Sligo IT to their first Sigerson Cup, believes that the tactic of holding possession to wind down the clock has damaged the game for fans.

During the Super 8s, the keep-ball tactic has been employed by Dublin and Galway, while Monaghan were less successful in their efforts to close out the game against Kerry.

“You have the situation where one team is winning the game and they're happy enough to hold onto the ball and the other team is happy enough to sit back with scoring average and this kind of stuff going on in games,” McHugh told the RTÉ GAA Podcast.

“I think Ulster coaches have destroyed the game. They took it to a level where it's going on in schools in Ulster and it’s going on all over coaching. It's coached to get your defence right first and try to break. When teams copped on to that, they sit and allow that.

“Dublin are very good at it now and they know how to play against it. The game is definitely not as good a spectacle to watch.

“I’m an Ulster man myself and it’s Ulster that did start it and are doing it. It’s not attractive and it’s going on at club level and everything else.”

“I remember going out one day with Ryan [Martin's son and Donegal football star], he was presenting medals to an U10 team. There was a wee girl there and I asked her, ‘Where do you play?’ And she said, ‘Sweeper’.

“That’s the level it’s at in football in Ulster. It’s going on in schools in Ulster. It's going on in clubs. It's going on in underage games.

“It's a wee bit scary because people will not go to watch it.”

The All-Ireland winner believes that a rule change is needed to prevent negative tactics from succeeding.

“I think we will have to look at the rules because Ulster teams are so good at it and they’re really able to do it.

“It’s just the way Gaelic football has gone and the sad thing about it is teams are winning playing that way. That’s where the problem is because they’re good at it and able to do it.”

PaperTalk GAA Podcast: How David Clifford saved Kerry and the Super 8


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