Five-time All-Ireland winner Jonny Cooper has revealed he thinks Gaelic football is fine as it is and doesn’t require any playing rules overhaul.
The experienced Dublin defender said he isn’t in favour of any of the five experimental rules which will come under a microscope from tomorrow when the O’Byrne Cup begins.
Three games will be played tomorrow in Leinster’s pre-season competition and the initial plan is that the rules will remain on trial for around 160 more matches until the end of the National League.
Cooper expressed his fears about spending ‘14 or 15 weeks doing something and they won’t be there in the summer’ ahead of their historic bid for five All-Ireland wins in a row.
Asked if he favoured any sort of change at all, Cooper responded: “Personally, no. I don’t think so. Was I in favour of any of them? No, probably not, to be quite honest and blunt about it.
“But I guess we’ve been successful the last couple of years so why would I want something changed?”
The 29-year-old said that he will have to experience the rules to make a definitive judgement call but fears it will be too much change at the one time.
“It does seem like five (rules) will be hard to get your head around, certainly initially,” he said.
“I think it’s a dangerous thing to try to manipulate rules to make the viewing of the game better.
“At the moment it’s just kind of ‘There’s five rules and off you go and figure it out’ type thing. But at the end of the day, if they’re not there in the summer, we’re going to spend 14 or 15 weeks doing something and then they might not be there in the summer.”
Cooper was dismissed early in the 2016 All-Ireland final replay win over Mayo after receiving a black card. Under the new experimental rules, he’d merely serve 10 minutes in the sin-bin and could then return. He acknowledged he got his ‘just rewards’ for the offence that day and would prefer if the black card was applied correctly.
“The example of me, that was done right and correct (in 2016) and that’s what you get for doing an offence,” said Cooper. “I just think implementing the rule, as best as the referees can implement it as it was, would be a fine solution other than trying to put something else on top of it.”
Meanwhile, Dublin hurler Jake Malone has described new manager Mattie Kenny as an ‘obsessive’ with a forensic attention to detail.
Kenny managed Cuala and midfielder Malone to two All-Ireland club titles before being upgraded to the Dublin job.
The Dubs will begin their Walsh Cup campaign on Tuesday evening in Carlow and midfielder Malone said he’s excited about the year ahead.
Asked to describe ex-Galway selector Kenny in one word, Malone said ‘obsessive’ and recalled their bus journey to the 2017 All-Ireland semi-final against Slaughtneil.
“He had back-up cars driving half an hour behind - just in case anything happened the bus,” said Malone. “That kind of level of detail is what he brings to the panel. I’d expect much of the same with Dublin this year.
“Thankfully, the bus didn’t break down! What had happened was we’d tried one bus and that had broken down going to a challenge. So for Slaughtneil we had a different bus and a different driver.”