Long-serving Clare manager Colm Collins is an advocate of Gaelic football’s new sin bin rule, but is scathing in his criticism of the advanced mark.
“The sin bin rule is excellent, top class. As for the advanced mark, God almighty, what is wrong with people? What skill is there in catching a ball into my stomach? I could do that myself. It’s the most basic thing you could possibly do.
“We’re the greatest crowd to pick up stupid things from other sports, and the one thing we should pick up from other sports is the bloody clock. Take the clock out of the hands of the referees, God knows they have enough to do.
“But this advanced mark is an absolute joke. If they are going to retain it at least make it for a catch over your head. Kicking 20 metres laterally for a mark. Mother of God, who brought these rules in?”
Speaking on theGAA Podcast, Collins also says counties must stop treating football’s Tier 2 as if it’s a “dumping ground”, suggesting teams will end up where they deserve.
Maintaining a place in the top two divisions of the Allianz League is vital this season as it means counties avoid the threat of dropping out of the Sam Maguire race.
In that respect, Clare’s Division 2 home win over Kildare on Sunday was vital. But Collins says that is not what’s driving his side this spring.
“I think the Tier 2 football thing — and I could be eating my words — but you’ll get there on merit. And I think people just have to embrace it. If you end up in Tier 2 that’s where you deserve to be and no more about it.
“The Roscommons and Clares and all the rest have plenty of opportunity now at this point to avoid that if that's what they want to do. But I don’t think if the chips fall that way, anyone can complain.
“Maybe it’s not a bad thing. If you are in Tier 2 and you win it surely that’s something you can build on for the following year. But I think we’ve got to stop looking at Tier 2 as if it’s a dumping ground.
And look at it as a genuine championship. At this point in time everyone has an opportunity. It’s a level playing pitch.”
Clare now face a trip to Roscommon, who are bottom of the division having failed to win either of their opening two games.
“Division 2, we’ve been in this spot before, we’ve pretty much nailed the way to play this. We forget about promotion, we forget about relegation and forget about every game we've got in the future. The only game we give a damn about is the game we are playing.”
“We do a recce on the opposition, we go over what we need to go over. And between games we try to get the max out of the group. That's all you can do. We’re taking it one game at a time and seeing what we can
get out of it.
So all that’s in our minds is the game against Roscommon now and I mean that sincerely.
Clare are in the kinder half of this year’s Munster Championship draw, with both Cork and Kerry on the other side. However, Collins maintains a strong league showing is arguably more important that provincial progress.
“In the context of what we have in Clare, it’s very important we stay in Division 2. There is some excellent talent coming through in Clare. And it’s very important for them we’re playing at a high level.
“From my own point of view, I’d dearly love to win a Munster. It’s a long time since 92. That’s also very important. Getting the most out of these players is the most important thing. So for the future staying in Division 2 is so important.”