Daniel St Ledger and his Carlow team-mates had their first taste of the experimental rules in Belfield last night against reigning Sigerson Cup champions UCD
And he remains unconvinced about the new three consecutive handpass limit.
Both UCD manager John Divilly and Carlow boss Turlough O'Brien agreed to an Examiner Sport invitation to play the challenge game under trial rules signed off by Central Council last weekend.
Meath referee Cormac Reilly was the referee for the game at Belfield.
On a dry sod, the game was expansive and the amount of kick-passing was noticeably high.
But just a couple of minutes in the Meath referee had to blow up as UCD’s Kerry midfielder Barry O’Sullivan completing his side’s
fourth handpass in a row.
“The referee was saying, ‘you’re on three, you’re on three’ and then you’re thinking about it but once players get used to it it’ll help the game,” said the player afterwards.
Both teams will play in more trying conditions in the coming weeks, Carlow under the new rule changes. However, speaking after the game, St Ledger’s sense of grievance about the limit of three consecutive hand-passes was obvious.
“We were consulted about it and 96% gave their answer,” he said of the almost unanimous opposition to the rule change among inter-county players who replied to a GPA survey. I don’t know how much more consultation is needed. It’s plainly clear we were ignored so that’s the way it is, unfortunately.
“I know personally I’d like it trialled in the O’Byrne Cup, the McKenna Cup and the FBD (Connacht League) and the McGrath Cup and you would have 60/70 trial games where you could review it and if it’s a massive success go ahead with it but not for it to be a blanket (decision) no matter what. It would be nice to a review after all the pre-season tournaments and see where we are then.
“The three hand-passes is significant, the others are not really of consequence. The sin bin might have a bit to it, the mark… it doesn’t really make much of a difference. Most of the time you’re going to play on when you get the ball inside the 45. The three hand-passes significantly changes the sport as far as I’m concerned.”