Advanced mark not making an impact

A paltry scoring return suggests the advanced mark is not making a significant impact on Gaelic football.

Advanced mark not making an impact

A paltry scoring return suggests the advanced mark is not making a significant impact on Gaelic football.

In the 16 Division 1 games so far, just 17 marks have been scored with Galway, Mayo and Roscommon yet to score any — Kerry opened their account after three and a half matches when Michael Geaney sent over one in the second half against Galway in Tuam.

After five in total were sent over in the opening round, three were converted in Round 2, two in Round 3 and seven in last weekend’s Round 4. Monaghan’s Conor McManus leads the way with five to his name, adding three last weekend against Tyrone after a couple in his county’s opening day win over Dublin.

Just three marks have been scored in the same number of matches in Division 2, Kildare providing a couple of them (Fergal Conway v Fermanagh, Neil Flynn v Clare) and Donegal the other (Martin O’Reilly v Meath).

Brought in by the GAA’s playing rules committee “to incentivise catching and kicking, creating and innovative play”, the mark can also be made by the defending player inside the 45m line — the ball has to have been kicked a minimum of 20m from open play outside the 45m.

In explaining why it was proposed, the rationale that the average number of kick passes per game had fallen by almost 15% in total since 2011 was highlighted. Were that trend to follow, there would be fewer than 96 kick passes per game by 2023.

The fate of the offensive mark and the other three experimental rules — the kickout from the 20-metre line, the forward sideline kick from between the 13m lines and the sin bin — is expected to be decided at a Special Congress in the autumn.

There has been no significant opposition to the introduction of a 20m kickout or the sideline kick rule, although the sin bin proposal may be amended so that the referee can stop the 10 minute punishment for time-wasting by the numerically disadvantaged team. The mark proposal could also be changed to the original idea of a mark only be claimed inside the 20m line and the pass back to the goalkeeper may yet be included among the recommendations.

Meanwhile, goals are down over 10% across the opening four rounds of the Allianz Football League compared to last year. A total of 113 goals have been scored thus far, an average of 1.76 goals per game, compared to 126 last year (1.96 goals per game). Three fewer goals have been scored in each of Division 1, 3 and 4.

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