The GAA are strongly considering the decommissioning of the ‘maor foirne’ role in Gaelic football and hurling.
After several flashpoints in this past summer’s Championship, there have been discussions about stopping the practice of the running selector entering the field of play to pass on instructions.
A number of high-profile incidents this year have convinced GAA officials that the sideline has to be cleaned up and pitch entries have to be greatly reduced.
In May, Dublin hurling maor foirne Greg Kennedy caught TJ Reid’s free in a Leinster SHC game and was handed a four-week ban.
In July, Kerry’s Tommy Griffin and Donegal’s Karl Lacey exchanged shoulders in the Super 8 game, while Tommy Dunne and Seoirse Bulfin clashed on a couple of occasions and tried to outrun one another to speak to the referee at half-time in the Tipperary-Wexford All-Ireland SHC semi-final.
GAA officials were also troubled by Clare co-manager Gerry O’Connor shoving Cork’s Daniel Kearney on the sideline in June’s Munster SHC game in Cusack Park.
Kerry’s water carrier, injured defender Peter Crowley, was also banned for eight weeks for squirting water at Dublin’s Cormac Costello in the drawn All-Ireland game.
Last year, Dublin’s Jason Sherlock, ex-Mayo selector Tony McEntee, and then Fermanagh maor foirne (now manager) Ryan McMenamin were all suspended for their involvement in incidents on the playing surface.
Ending the maor foirne role would require a rule change, which would likely be proposed by Central Competitions Control Committee at Annual Congress in February.
Rule 1.4 of the GAA Official Guide. Part II states: “One Team Official (Maor Foirne, who is an assistant to the Bainisteoir), may move alongside the sidelines and enter the field of play, as specified hereunder, to make changes and/or to give instructions to players.
“The Maor Foirne shall enter the field of play through the Substitution Zone and only when the ball has gone out of play following a score or a ‘wide’ or during a stoppage in play which is called by the Referee for medical attention to an injured player.”
Speaking after the All-Ireland final win over Kilkenny, Tipperary selector Dunne admitted he didn’t want to be on the field.
“The pitch is for the players, it is not for the maor foirne. I don’t want to be on the pitch and loads of other maor foirnes will say the same.
"And I think it is important that we be careful in terms of how we respect that.
"It mightn’t always seem the case, but it is something we have to be very careful about.”