McGill: Sideline rules won’t change

GAA director of games administration and player welfare Feargal McGill doesn’t expect the new five-person limit on sideline team personnel to change.

Dublin chairman Andy Kettle said he will broach the subject of the new regulations at tomorrow’s Central Council meeting in Croke Park. Kerry and Waterford chairmen Patrick O’Sullivan and Tom Cunningham have added their weight behind the opposition to the new restriction at pitch-side.

The Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC), of which McGill is secretary, had initially put forward a proposal to reduce the numbers on the sideline to seven. However, having received that, Central Council elected to cut a team’s allocation to five — a manager, one selector, medic and two water/hurley carriers.

“The match regulations remain as passed and I very much doubt they will be changed,” said McGill.

“It’s entirely up to Central Council if they want to change it. Central Council effectively edited the proposal the CCCC put forward so these are very much Central Council’s own match regulations.

“We prepared a draft for Central Council to decide on. We’re not saying it should be X or Y at all.

“However, the one thing the CCCC recommended was a reduction of the number of personnel on the sideline.”

Kerry chairman O’Sullivan backed the concerns expressed by his senior football manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice about the move.

“There seem to be comparisons made between rugby and GAA but rugby management teams are professionals and can easily work their systems from a stand. GAA management teams are amateurs who meet for a few times a week to organise their systems.

“Under the old rule, everyone would know what their job on the line entailed. Talking through a microphone to a selector in the stand is not the same as talking to the person beside you. It waters down the opportunity to make quick decisions. You could have someone coming down from the stand to advise on a change but how long would that take?

“Our management weren’t asked about how they felt about the situation. If there was an approach or a trial period during the McGrath Cup where they could give feedback at least they would get more people working with them. But people seem to be alienated by this.”

Like Kettle, Cunningham feels there must be a county board official permitted to be present on the sideline.

“We wouldn’t be too happy with no county board official being allowed on the line,” said Cunningham. “What happens if an argument breaks out? The county board is liable for it and yet they have no representative there.”

Meanwhile, McGill believes indifference was the primary reason why the two proposals on the future of the All-Ireland senior hurling championship are being voted on by Central Council again this weekend.

“One of the most disappointing things about the last debate was the number of counties who didn’t vote at all, which clearly means they hadn’t considered it or its implications.

“We would assume in the interim that people have discussed this but it’s important to state that all they’re voting on is what motion will go to Congress.”

Most of, if not all the Munster counties will vote in favour of the CCCC’s motion, which calls for a simplified qualifier system, a preliminary qualifying group in Leinster and the reduction of Liam MacCarthy Cup teams from 15 to 13 by 2016.

Above all else, the recommendation states the Munster SHC should remain a knock-out competition unlike the Hurling Development Committee (HDC) structure which calls for both provinces to be played on a Champions League-style format.

Cork, Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford are all set to back their proposal while Clare and Kerry are currently in the process of discussing it.

“We don’t feel the Munster championship should be run on a league system because it would affect our club championships,” said Tipperary secretary Tim Floyd.

The same sentiment appears to be echoed in the other counties with Limerick chairman Oliver Mann confirming they’ll be voting “for the retention of the Munster championship”.

Waterford’s Tom Cunningham said as much as they would like to see Championship games played in Walsh Park, as the HDC recommendation proposes, he said hosting the likes of Tipperary there would be “impossible” at the moment.

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