Meath manager Andy McEntee has hit out at the new advanced mark rule and claimed it only helps Aussie Rules clubs to identify new talent.
McEntee made his comments after Meath’s 4-16 to 1-15 O’Byrne Cup win over Laois, a game watched by county title winner Conor Nash, who is now established in the AFL with Hawthorn.
All-Star Tyrone forward Cathal McShane has been strongly linked with a move Down Under too, potentially joining Dubliner James Madden at Brisbane Lions.
Nash watched Meath win two advanced marks on Saturday in the Round 3 game though on both occasions the players opted to play on as normal, scoring a point on the second occasion.
“I’m not a fan of it,” said McEntee of the new rule brought in by a Special Congress in October.
“I see more people going over to Australia and (it’s like) we’re just trying to make it a little bit easier on them. I don’t get it.”
Asked if he felt the new rule provides a shop window for AFL scouts, McEntee said: “It’s not helping, I’ll put it to you that way. We now have a mark inside our 50, we have a mark in the middle of the field and we have a mark inside their 50. It’s getting pretty close to (Aussie Rules) and....I don’t know, a lot smarter people than me have come up with this idea but personally I don’t see the point of it.”
Meath’s 10-point win over Mike Quirke’s Laois counted for nought in the competition as Westmeath beat Louth 1-13 to 0-11 to grab the last semi-final spot.
They’ll play Offaly next weekend while Dublin, given a bye to the last four for the second year running, play Longford on Saturday.
Offaly had already qualified but made it three wins from three by beating Wexford 2-12 to 1-7 with goals from Cian Johnson and Conor McNamee, piling more misery on new Model County manager Paul Galvin.
Dublin’s semi-final opponents Longford were rocked by a late Wicklow goal which secured a 2-9 to 0-14 win for the Garden County.
Chris O’Brien pounced for a goal to secure their first win under Davy Burke.
A late goal stole a dramatic win for Jack O’Connor’s Kildare who thwarted Carlow with a dramatic comeback.
The Lilies trailed by 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time and slipped six points behind with 15 minutes to go. But they reeled off 1-6 without reply to secure their second Group 1 win and only missed out on the semi-finals due to their loss to Longford.
It was a dramatic conclusion as Kildare firstly levelled at 0-10 apiece following points from Adam Tyrrell, Jimmy Hyland, David Hyland and John Treacy.
Then Chris Byrne blasted a 70th-minute goal that proved the winning score in a 1-10 to 0-10 comeback win.