GAA hierarchy have moved to introduce the new hooter system for today’s Sigerson Cup semi-finals, a decision strongly criticised by NUI Maynooth boss Sean O’Toole.
The third-level finals in Belfast serve as the first trial for the hooter system, which this weekend’s Congress in Croke Park will vote to approve for all hurling and football championship games.
The four competing Sigerson Cup teams were informed of the move yesterday morning and O’Toole said warning of the hooter’s presence should have been flagged far earlier. The Sigerson Cup, he added, was most definitely not the place to introduce an untried system.
“This for many lads is their All-Ireland final. There are lads who wouldn’t play at inter-county level and they want to get their hands on an All-Ireland Sigerson Cup medal. They treat this weekend as one of the most important in the year. This is not the place to trial the hooter,” he fumed.
“What happens if the hooter sounds just as the ball is leaving a player’s foot and that kick sails over the bar, what happens then? What happens if that kick decides the game?
There could be a problem if the hooter was to sound in the middle of the first or second-half due to a technical glitch.
“We weren’t warned about the clock so we didn’t have time to ask these questions. If we start asking now we are diverting focus and energy from the game itself. I hope it doesn’t prove contentious and doesn’t impact on the game.”
In effect, responsibility for keeping track of time no longer rests with the referee and a statement outlined the workings of the clock: “A timekeeper shall be appointed who shall control the clock and hooter on the instruction of the referee; the clock shall count up from 0.00; there shall be in place a “public” clock which shall be the official match clock.
“The timekeeper shall stop the clock when directed to do so by the referee in the case of relevant on-field injuries or for deliberate or other incidental delays.”
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