O’Neill: Square ball rule heats things up

Colm O’Neill believes the new square ball rule will lead to “a few hot moments throughout the championship”.

However the Cork star, yesterday honoured for his performances in the Allianz League, welcomes a move which may lead to more goals.

He explained: “As a forward you’d support it but goalies might look at it differently. It’s going to be very difficult on refs and there could be a few hot moments through the championship. It will make things more exciting, but not for everyone. I suppose goalies are going to come under more pressure from full forwards.”

With a new football review committee named, the debate has already begun about what changes can improve the game. O’Neill hopes officials will consider options to curb negative defensive tactics in Gaelic football.

“As a forward the one thing, what you don’t like to see coming into the game is the blanket defence. I don’t know how you could implement a rule to stop that. Teams are doing it now and teams are going to have to adapt to that kind of football.

“That’s the way football is going. There have been some excellent games out there in the last few years. It’s in a healthy place.”

What about the possibility of increasing the value of a goal to four or five points?

“If it went up to five points it would be good. It might entice people to go for goals more often.”

Aidan Walsh’s switch from midfield to full-forward has been one of the more interesting aspects of Cork’s successful Division 1 campaign. It has been well signposted ahead of their June 10 Munster semi-final against Kerry or Tipperary.

However, with the new square ball rule, his aerial ability and agility could prove just the ticket.

“Aidan can not only win high ball, but he’s good to win it in front of him,” said O’Neill. “We never really had a big target man, but it’s something we are looking to use in future to keep defenders on their toes.”


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