Linden’s radical proposal to stamp out persistent fouling

DOWN legend Mickey Linden has proposed a radical rule change to stamp out cynical and persistent fouling on forwards.

A rules revision task force including intercounty stars like Paul Durcan and Dessie Farrell are considering a number of options including the adoption of the “mark” system similar to that in the AFL

Linden, who guided Down champions Mayobridge to the Ulster club final as player-manager, has offered his own novel proposal. The two-times All-Ireland winner and former Footballer of the Year believes that two points instead of one should be awarded for the conversion of a free-kick. He says that would reduce the amount of pulling and dragging by defenders and lend a more free-flowing aspect to the game.

Meanwhile, Meath football management are hopeful that captain Paddy Reynolds is set for another season of inter-county football.

With county training set to convene in Simonstown tonight, selector Colm Coyle revealed that Reynolds will return, despite suggestions that he was planning to retire. The Royals face Wexford on Saturday in the first defence of their O’Byrne Cup title. The game was originally pencilled in for early January but Wexford acceded to a Meath request to bring it forward because boss Seán Boylan and several of his players will be away.

Reynolds isn’t likely to figure, but Coyle rubbished rumours that the Walterstown club man, who won All-Ireland’s in 1996 and 1999, has quit. “It’s news to me if he has,” said Coyle.

Veterans Ollie Murphy and Graham Geraghty are both back in the fold and faring well while Darren Fay has also committed for 2005. Meantime, Wexford boss Pat Roe will field another experimental line-up against Meath.

“I’d imagine we’ll have seven or eight regulars playing against Meath on Saturday,” said Roe. “We’re looking at a lot of new faces at the moment and we’ll continue to do so over the next couple of months.”

New Sligo boss Dominic Corrigan is likely to remain with Carrickmore for at least one more game. The Tyrone champions face Donaghmore in the semi-final of the domestic league on Sunday, with the winners to play holders Dromore in the decider.

Players from Dublin, Carlow, Cavan and Derry will be honoured at the GAA Rounders Allstars at Croke Park on Saturday night.

ROUNDERS ALLSTARS: MEN Catcher: D McArdle, Erne Eagles, Cavan; Pitcher: G Reilly, Erne Eagles, Cavan; Short Stop (Infield): K O’Hagan, Nh. Mhichil, Derry; First base:T Murphy, Cuchulainn, Carlow; Second Base: O Fitzsimons, Erne Eagles, Cavan; Third Base: J Reilly, Erne Eagles, Cavan; Fielders; Left Outfield: E Healey, An Tinile; Dublin; Centre Outfield - M O’Leary, Cuchulainn, Carlow; Right Outfield - D Coey, Nh. Mhichil, Derry.

LADIES Pitcher: E Costello, An Tinile, Dublin; Catcher: F Ó Tuathain, Nh. Mhichil, Derry; Short Stop (Infield): A Barber, Erne Eagles, Cavan; First base: C Moloney, Cuchulainn, Carlow; Second Base: G Doyle, Bagnelstown, Carlow; Third Base: C Kelly, An Tinile, Dublin; Fielders: Left Outfield: L Maguire, An Tinile, Dublin; Center Outfield: C Cole, Cuchulainn, Carlow; Right Outfield: A Brady, Erne Eagles, Cavan.

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