'Why are we changing again?': Michael Murphy critical of GAA's rules tinkering

'Why are we changing again?': Michael Murphy critical of GAA's rules tinkering

Donegal captain Michael Murphy has criticised the decision to change football's playing rules, insisting the GAA should have spent more time looking at scheduling instead.

Last month's Special Congress gave the green light for three new rules; the advanced mark, 10-minute sin bin and a decree that all kick-outs are taken from the 20-metre line.

But the ultra experienced Murphy, 30, said he doesn't feel it's the answer to the game's wider problem of a claustrophobic club and county fixtures calendar.

"I think our rules are fine the way they are," Murphy told the Donegal News. "We need to become more innovative as teams and figure out how to approach it a different way, become more effective.

"Fixing rules, looking to find a short cut to that, I just don't feel it's the answer. I'm all for trialling things but we've made changes now over the last few seasons and it seems to be more of an annual thing now.

Football, I feel it's opening up again anyway. So why are we changing again? The overriding feeling with players and supporters is that we need to look at the fixtures calendar closer than looking at rules.

Special Congress did also bring in a new Tier 2 for the football Championship while the Fixtures Calendar Review Task Force, set up by GAA President John Horan, will publish its recommendations shortly.

But Murphy said: "Is there a want there to look at the game we're playing, on that same level (as the playing rules)? The answer would be no. If GAA people were asked if they'd rather the fixture calendar or the playing rules be looked at, there'd be more appetite for the fixtures calendar."

Murphy, who is coaching Sigerson Cup outfit Letterkenny IT and who has also undertaken a Masters Degree in Sports Psychology, highlighted youth dropout as another big issue for the GAA.

"That age group of 15-21, how do we nurture that, move away from the dropout figures we hear about," said Murphy. "The GAA on the whole, over the last 10 years, has taken a huge approach to improving the level of coaching from U-6 through to U-12.

"From being around games in the county the standard of footballer at 6, 8, 10, 12 or 14, they're way ahead of us skillswise at that age. We need to then move it onto, 'how do we coach the 15-21 generation?' And I just don't mean football. There is so much more. There is a hell of a lot going on in the lives of that bracket besides football. There are huge life transitions. There is college and other important life changes that the GAA can make an impression on."

Murphy captained Donegal to back-to-back Ulster titles last summer but admitted it was frustration that they then lost to Mayo and failed to advance from the Super 8s.

"Listen, the fact is we just didn't perform that day," he said. "We weren't at the same level Mayo brought. We need to find out the reasons why. Yeah, we had a few injuries. But all sides have to contend with that so we can't use it as any kind of excuse."

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