KERRY defender Killian Young has backed the GAA’s experimental playing rules but believes further improvements could be made to the mark.
Under the system the referee decides whether play should continue when a player makes a mark from a kickout but Young reasons it would be more beneficial to replicate the AFL practice where the player decides whether or not to play on.
“The only thing I’d be a bit upset about is the mark. It’s a great thing to be catching the ball and you’ve acres of room ahead of you. But it’d be nice for the fella to have the option to play on. If you took a couple of steps and then the referee would wave play on. That could be the only thing that they could look at.”
Several intercounty managers have expressed misgivings about the new hand pass rule but Young believes Kerry got to grips with that change during their McGrath Cup campaign which culminated in success in Saturday’s decider against UCC.
“The handpass is something I think a lot of our fella’s are getting used to. We might have had problems at the start but in the last two games, I can’t remember Kerry giving an open hand pass. We’re getting used to it and we’re working hard on it in training the whole time. Overall I think the rules are good in that it keeps you thinking the whole time.”
The absence of ankle injury victim Bryan Sheehan resulted in Young deputising as captain in Saturday’s decider. He is set to continue in that role for Sunday’s NFL opener against Dublin in Killarney and the following week’s repeat of last year’s All-Ireland decider against Cork.
But he insisted he is ‘only keeping the position warm’ for his South Kerry teammate.
“It’s very disappointing for Bryan. He’s looking towards a small operation, a tiny little keyhole on the ankle. It’s minor enough but he will miss the first two games more than likely. It’s a big pity for him that he got injured so early in the year. He’s a bit down at the moment but he’ll be back soon. I was talking to him a couple days ago and I said I’m only keeping the captaincy warm for him and hopefully we’ll see him soon. But it’s a big honour for myself to be captain as well. I had the experience with the Kerry U21’s and it’s a nice habit to have in collecting cups.
“We’ve two tough games to start the league but it’s a great chance for new guys to get a go at senior football. The McGrath Cup was great preparation for us as we came back so late in January from New York and Jamaica that we were playing catch up. Especially with the new rules, it’s vital that you get practice to be prepared for the league.”
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