Jack McCaffrey says attacking mark rule ‘awful’ decision

Player of the Year nominee Jack McCaffrey has slammed Gaelic football’s new advanced mark rule as “awful” and claimed it’ll bring the game closer to Australian Rules.

Jack McCaffrey says attacking mark rule ‘awful’ decision

Player of the Year nominee Jack McCaffrey has slammed Gaelic football’s new advanced mark rule as “awful” and claimed it’ll bring the game closer to Australian Rules.

Dublin’s five-in-a-row hero didn’t pull any punches with his assessment of the new rule which was trialled in this year’s National League before being installed permanently by last weekend’s Special Congress.

McCaffrey said he has no issue with the other new rules; taking all kick-outs from the 20-metre line and the introduction of a sin-bin, describing the latter as an “excellent rule” but he was heavily critical of the advanced mark.

“I think the attacking mark is awful and I think that’s probably a bit selfish from me in that it’ll make my job significantly more difficult as a defender,” said wing-back McCaffrey.

“But I do think it’s a little step towards a much more stop-start game. One of my favourite players to watch at the moment is Con O’Callaghan, every time he gets the ball he just turns and goes straight at you and it would be a travesty if he was to turn into a player who just catches the ball and kicks it over the bar, which he can do and will do because it’s a no-brainer.”

Two separate mark rules will now operate in Gaelic football; the new advanced mark and the mark for clean catches from kick-outs that travel beyond the 45-metre line.

McCaffrey is concerned that it’s all taking the game closer in style to Aussie Rules.

“I remember when Ciarán Kilkenny signed for an Aussie Rules club, I’d only ever watched highlights of Aussie Rules games, so I actually sat down in the library in UCD and watched the Grand Final from the year before in its entirety and was blown away with how slow it was and stop-start and scrappy.

“Obviously we’re not at that point at all but it does seem a little step in that direction,” said the Temple Street-based doctor.

Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey at the launch of the 2019 CurrencyFair Asian Gaelic Games at Croke Park yesterday. McCaffrey fears Gaelic football moving closer towards Australian Rules with the introduction of the advanced mark. Picture: Inpho/Oisín Keniry
Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey at the launch of the 2019 CurrencyFair Asian Gaelic Games at Croke Park yesterday. McCaffrey fears Gaelic football moving closer towards Australian Rules with the introduction of the advanced mark. Picture: Inpho/Oisín Keniry

McCaffrey said he doesn’t wish to return to a time when attacking was more route one and based on a long-ball approach.

“I’m sure we’ll see some spectacular instances of high fielding on the edge of the square but I don’t want to go back to a time when the GAA is just about going across the halfway line and kicking the ball as hard as you can,” said the 2015 Footballer of the Year.

“There’s a bit of a romantic retrospective view on things that it was glorious to see all this but it’s a bit old-fashioned now and I don’t think there’s anything that’s not aesthetically pleasing about seeing teams attack quickly and fluidly through the hands or with shorter kick-passes, as a unit, breaking down defences.

“I think people are just yearning for the day of putting a big man on the edge of the square and hoof it in.

“That player still has a role but it’s certainly not at the expense of everything else.”

Dublin footballer Jack McCaffrey was speaking at the launch of the 2019 CurrencyFair Asian Gaelic Games which take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 9/10.

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