John Bannon: GAA chiefs need to tackle time-keeping loopholes

I know I’m not alone when I say this All-Ireland final was far from a classic as you could possibly imagine.

The weather will be held up as an excuse but that only goes so far.

This, we were told, was a game between two of the best teams in the country. I’m not sure the rain can be blamed when both sides had 13 men behind the ball for various periods.

David Coldrick had an excellent first half, his only bad call coming in the 35th minute when Paul Geaney should have been awarded a free. He correctly blew against James O’Donoghue for overcarrying in the third minute. He was also on the ball when he punished Bernard Brogan and Brian Fenton for touching the ball on the ground. His umpires were very assured too when it came to calling points and they didn’t require the assistance of HawkEye.

The second half was more of a stop-start affair that must surely now bring into question the whole issue of time-keeping in Gaelic games. Dublin began playing down the clock from an early stage and with the rules not adequately addressing this practice they profited.

Not only is there nothing in the rulebook to deal with the time taken for kick-outs and free kicks, substitutes can be thrown into the bargain too and in the second half there were 10 substitutions yet only four minutes of additional time played.

Obviously, it pays to play down the clock for the team in the leading position.

Congress, if they are serious about it, will have to look at the amount of time played in the last 10 minutes of games because this year has shown that it is dwindling because of all the side issues going on.

Rule changes must be on the cards now such as allocating time at the end for each substitution made and possibly a time limit on free kicks between the time they are awarded and when they are taken. That will mean extended games but it would also be fair.

Donnchadh Walsh was unfortunate not to earn a free after winning a great ball in the 55th minute. The Kerry management was also extremely upset when Kieran Donaghy wasn’t awarded one in the 59th minute for a push in the back.

I have seen some footage on the penalty claim in the 71st minute where Donaghy and Rory O’Carroll tussled but I can’t say clearly whether the Kerry forward was fouled or not. There have been several instances this year when penalty claims have been shown from different angles and yet were still open to debate.

The minor game, because it was so one-sided, passed off without much incident. David Gough got his calls right and should be applauded for being consistent in his application of the rules throughout even when Tipperary had long been beaten and the game became little more than a procession for Kerry.

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