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From the Archives: An interview with Moss Keane

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In this fascinating interview from 2009, Eamonn Fitzgerald speaks to legendary Irish rugby player (and his former classmate) Moss Keane about his illness, his Gaelic football career and lining out for his country.

 

Eamonn Fitzgerald: First off Moss, to the urgent and the important, how are you coping with your cancer diagnosis?

Moss Keane: Very well indeed. It was a huge shock, of course. I went in for a routine check-up and the medics discovered that I had cancer. I have undergone treatment for the past six months. We all get setbacks of one kind or another and this is a new challenge for me. I am taking it on like all the other challenges I have experienced over 61 years… And I am in great form.

 

EF: On one occasion you were set upon near Heuston Station and suffered a serious eye injury.

MK: That’s water under the bridge now. 16 years ago. That was a challenge at the time, but I moved on from that.

 

EF: You had a big day recently raising money.

MK: Sure we had a mighty day recently in the K-Club, where a host of stars from a wide range of sports played under Paul O’Connell (Munster) and Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster).

 

EF: On this wonderful day and through your great influence a very significant sum of money was raised for two worthy charities: the Charitable Trust and the Stuart Mangan Appeal – both causes dear to your heart.

MK: Yes, thank God.

 

EF: You are an iconic and charismatic character in Irish sport, yet you’re still very much the ordinary guy we knew shoring up the UCC football defence…

MK: Playing football with UCC was great. Let’s get one thing straight: I was only a filler-in, making up the numbers. Look at all those great players from Kerry at the time. From the Killarney area alone you had Dan Kavanagh, D Coff, Tom Looney and that great trio from Beaufort: Paudie and Brendan Lynch, and Jim Coughlan. At one stage we had 14 Kerry men and a lone Cork man on the UCC football team.

 

EF: You captained the Skull and Crossbones to Cork County Championships and to Sigerson Cup successes.

MK: I was a compromise captain. They could not decide between two great footballers, Ray Cummins and Brendan Lynch, so to avoid any aggro they planked me in there. It wasn’t for my footballing ability I can tell you.

 

EF: Were you ever sent off in football?

MK: Only twice.

 

EF: What were the circumstances?

MK: On one occasion we were playing a Cork Championship, or was it a Kelleher Shield match, and the ref thought I was a biteen too enthusiastic. On the other occasion, the game was only on about 10 minutes when one of the opposition laid into Jim Coughlan, God rest poor Jim. I strode over to sort out yerman and of course the ref, Jimmy Dennigan, pointed me to the line. No red cards at that time. I made sure I brought one of the opposition with me, to even things up. Not too long afterwards, Mick Morris (Kerry centre back) was sent off on his own and we got the mother and father of a hiding.

 

EF: You played under 21 for Kerry, fronting me against Cork.

MK: No one passed me in anyhow, whatever about the ball. I left that to you.

 

EF: And then Currow went on to produce yet another international rugby star…

MK: It really is amazing that a small rural area in Kerry produced The Doyle brothers, Mick Galway and myself thrown in there as well. At that time, even more so than now, certain second-level schools were primarily rugby producing schools and these fed into the rugby clubs, inter-pros and international teams. My secondary school was the Sem (St Brendan’s), where (Gaelic) football was really the only sport and there was no mention of the oval ball.

Some of the lads in UCC rugby team asked me to join in when the footballers were finished, and it went from there.

 

EF: Bill McLaren (rugby commentator) described you as 18-and-a-half stone of prime Irish beef.

MK: Did he? That must have been after I had gone on a diet. He missed a bit more.

 

EF: Why do you think you made it at international level with Ireland?

MK: I started because I was big and strong. I could push and shove and do a few more things in the mauls, where you couldn’t be copped. Sure, I gave away penalties early on because I didn’t know the rules. The refs missed a lot more. The rugby crowd wanted me because I was big and strong. I could jump and I could push and shove. It wasn’t for any great ball skills.

 

EF: I was in Landsdowne Road the day you took off for the line and the crowd roaring you on.

MK: That was great. I got the ball somehow, about 50 yards from the line, and this big gap opened up. I stuck the ball under my oxter and took off, scattering any blokes who tried to hang on to me. The adrenaline was flowing and the more the crowd roared, the more I progressed. I was nearly there, but the oxygen expired.

 

EF: Do you recall the profile I did of you for the Munster football Final during Kerry’s Golden Years?

MK: Didn’t you get in to trouble with the GAA over that?

 

EF: Frank Murphy took exception to a player from a foreign code (you) being promoted on a GAA match programme.

MK: Frank of Cork, of course… Jesus, Mary and Joseph! God forgive me my sins. I cringe when I think of that narrow-minded…

 

EF: Was second row your best position?

MK: Second row is no great rocket science. There is a greater need for skills in the other positions. My old friend, Johnny Brosnan, from Curnow told me I might make a decent enough Gaelic player, but I would never be a Kerry senior. I was too big for it. I knew he was right. There were times when I was in tight situations when I felt like a man trying to turn an articulated lorry in a bathroom. He said that rugby might be an option.

 

EF: What goes on in the scrums?

MK: A lot of huffing and puffing. And there is more! You don’t see or hear everything, but you would want to keep at least half an eye half-open so that you could give some fella a good dunt, thump or a decent slap. Of course, you’d get a dunt too, if you weren’t on the lookout. The camera work wasn’t great at that time, but nowadays the electronic eyes are on you. Many people thought the Munster v Leinster game was very clean, but I can tell you that a fair bit of skelping went on…

 

EF: We have seen several examples of eye-gouging in rugby games. Reminds me of that tragic scene in King Lear when his eyes were gouged out.

MK: I wouldn’t know anything about King Lear. Don’t you remember it was Macbeth we did for the Leaving Cert in 1965. You must have read King Lear later in your studies.

 

EF: You did return to St Brendan’s many years later.

MK: I did indeed, when they ended the boarding school section in 1999, or so, I headed down to the refectory, where we used to eat. Would you believe it I got the same damn pangs of hunger that assailed me 34 years earlier?

 

EF: Once you started the rugby you moved through the ranks very quickly.

MK: The infamous ban (Rule 27) went in 1971 so I switched to rugby via UCC, Highfield, Munster, and on to Lansdown when I went to Dublin to do the Masters.

 

EF: What went through your mind when you won your first cap?

MK: I did a fair bit of pinching of myself. Was this real that an ordinary guy reared in football in Kerry and in Cork was now wearing the green jersey of Ireland?

 

EF: The professional era hadn’t come in when you were playing.

MK: That’s right, but you must remember that it is only the elite group of players are making the big money. There are many players who have small enough money going with their contracts. Some of these are paid figures below subsistence level. In today’s game if a player has a long-term injury it hits him hard in the pocket, so players must bear this in mind. In my time Trevor Brennan was being sent in as a sub to subdue a certain player and the only question he asked his manager was, “Do I take him out just for this match, or do you want it extended for the whole season?”

 

EF: There is a strong suspicion in the GAA hierarchy that the GPA are not just seeking better conditions for their players but are angling for pay–to–play also. Is this on in the GAA?

MK: No, it is not. The GAA cannot sustain hurling and football as professional games. Remember the professional game is built around big sponsorship and there isn’t enough of that to go around. How do you square up the ordinary club player with the clubmate that is getting paid for some competitions?

 

EF: You were, of course, on the Munster team that defeated the All-Blacks in Limerick, which has gone into the annals of folklore.

MK: Yes, that was a mighty day. Of course, it has proved almost impossible to defeat Munster in Thomond Park. Much the same way I don’t think the All Blacks would relish a trip to Aughrim. Didn’t Micko (Dwyer) prove that in the qualifiers this year? Three northern teams came down and he took them one by one in battle.

 

EF: Any thoughts as you look back on an illustrious career in sport.

MK: I enjoyed every bit of it and the craic was mighty in all sports. Looking back on it I would love to have been fit, of course. Fitness is a very relative experience. Gaelic footballers are far fitter now since Heffo and Dwyer upped the pace in the mid-70s. The level of fitness of the Kerry teams nowadays is way ahead of the great Kerry teams of 1955 and 1959. Similarly with club teams and the same goes for rugby.

 

EF: I have heard so many stories about you, Moss, that have entertained myself and others, but what is fact and what is fiction.

MK: You can blame Willie Duggan for some of these, I am sure. Fire away anyhow.

 

EF: How did you and Pádraig O’Meara from High Street, your great friend in your UCC days, manage to fit into one of the tiniest, minuscule Fiat cars?

MK: It was fully taxed and I don’t mean the disc… We always had a bag of spuds on board from home to sustain us for the week in the flat.

 

EF: I heard that you left a great print on the ceiling of the Blue Bull pub in Cardiff and they are very proud of it. How did you manage to put your two footprints on the ceiling of the pub?

MK: I don’t remember. Must have been an act of God.

 

EF: Do you remember Smyth, the BBC commentator, who interviewed you during the Lions tour in 1977 about the highlight of your tour, and your reply?

MK: I’ve no doubt about my highlight: when I heard that Kerry beat the daylights out of Cork in the Munster final. That’s true alright. Dermot Coffey had told me the result some days before that.

 

EF: Fred Cogley interviewed you for RTÉ Sport before one of the internationals?

MK: He did indeed and he kept calling me Maurice Ignatius. That was only for my birth cert in Currow. I remember him saying that I had won so many caps, but had never scored for Ireland.

 

EF: How did you answer that?

MK: I took my time, then leaned forward and gave it to him there and then. “Not yet, Freddie.”

 

EF: Finally, Moss how would you like to be remembered?

MK: Are you putting me down already?

[Howls of laughter from the Big Fella. His mind and quick wit are as sharp as ever, even with that invasive, progressive bowel cancer.]

Give me a shout anytime at all.

 

EF: I will.

 

Moss Keane, an enduring icon of Irish sport and mighty company. How much time has he left?

 

Update: 2021

They laid Moss to rest a year later, on October 7, 2010, in Portarlington graveyard. A real “who’s who” of Irish sport joined his wife, Anne, and daughters, Sarah and Ann Marie. You can just imagine the stories about Moss that flowed after the funeral.

Moss would love to have been in the middle of all the craic. He was one person I was glad to have known since that first day in the same plebs class in the Sem, September 1960.

Thanks for the memories, Moss. You enlivened many a day and many an occasion. The quotes are in the bank of treasured memories.

 

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Eamonn Fitzgerald: Keane should know 11 of his 15 starters

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Kerry manager Peter Keane speaking with David Moran after the Super 8s match against Mayo in 2019. Pic: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile.

As Kerry ramp up towards the championship, Eamonn Fitzgerald gives his assessment of their preparations to date.

One certainly learns more from defeat that from victory, so what has Peter Keane and his management team learned from the 2020 debacle?

In fairness to the Kerry management, they have opened up the panel, brought some new players into the fold. They will bring them along hoping they will be in contention for places in the resurrection, which occurs when they start the 2021 championship campaign with a home game versus Clare in the Fitzgerald Stadium.

Tomorrow, Kerry will meet Tyrone in the NFL semi-final. Their league title is at stake. Too many supporters give them no credit for winning the 2020 National League.

If Kerry win and Dublin win as expected, there won’t be a league final and it will be a shared title. That is disappointing for the players. The GAA should have done better and ensured they a final had to be played.

IDEAL PREPARATION

Peter Keane and the Kerry players have had the ideal preparation for the championship. Three competitive league games so far and one more tomorrow. The Kerry selectors used the matches wisely, trying out as many players as possible to see which combination will deliver success.

Injuries forced their hands for all games and some established players were rested. That gave game time to so many players.

That huge win over Galway in Tralee was a great morale booster. They ran up a big score, inflicting a 22-point defeat on Galway, the worst ever margin of defeat for the Westerners. It was magical stuff, Kerry going at them from the throw-in and imposing their game on hapless Galway.

In my report I said that one swallow does not make a summer, but that one swallow was most welcome and hopefully the rest of the flight would follow to make a summer of delight in Kerry.

The eagerly awaited clash with the Dubs did not disappoint. Kerry were like the proverbial curate’s egg, good and bad in patches. Leaking three early goals was ominous. Had we learned anything about basic defending?

Dublin went seven points clear and looked odds-on to make it a 10-point win, but Kerry responded magnificently hitting six unanswered points. It looked all up when Dublin converted a late penalty, but David Clifford came to the rescue in the dying minutes of the game to snatch a draw. Lessons to be learned against the top opposition. Kerry forwards are very good, but the defence is still the Achilles heel.

Roscommon proved as tough as ever, but Kerry competed well. Still that goal leakage at the back was a worry. Diarmuid O’Connor improved steadily and will start at midfield v Clare.

Tomorrow’s very competitive match v Tyrone will tell us more.

STARTING 15

I expect at this stage Peter Keane and his selectors have 11 positions filled to start v Clare. They haven’t a surplus of class players and injuries will deprive them of a full hand.

I’ve still to see the Peter Keane gameplan, his stamp on this team. Every manager in any team sport wishes his/her team to play in a certain matter. The defensive tactics in Cork failed. Thankfully, that has changed in the three league games of 2021 and that is encouraging.

The ball is going in much quicker and sooner so that the inside forwards are brought into play. They score freely and once you get the ball inside 50 metres defenders are quite likely to foul. With Seán O’Shea that’s a pointed free in most cases.

I’m not suggesting that the Kerry defenders should send the ball anywhere out of their way. Leave that to supporters of Charlton. Get it out long and accurate setting up an attack, instead of lateral passing and not progressing.

I expect that the Kerry selectors have pencilled in 11 places and the discussion really is for the remaining starting four. They will also will be very mindful of seven other subs. The starting 15 will not be the 15 that will finish. Such is the intensity of the modern game.

DEFENCE

Shane Ryan has been out injured for this league and must be doubtful for the early stages of the championship. Kieran Fitzgibbon has been catapulted into goalkeeping duties and he has performed quite well, especially playing behind a much-maligned defence.

The goalkeeper is just not alone a ball stopper, but he is called into play once the opposition start moving out the ball from the other end of the field. He can see possible developments long before his defenders do. He can see the runner, gaps opening and real danger, before defender do. They are too taken up with marking their own men. The keeper is the eyes and ears of the defenders and must be sure and vocal. It will take time for him to assert his authority and the same goes for the kick-outs. Understandably, he hasn’t always succeeded in picking out a fellow player, be it short or long. That will come. Even Cluxton had to learn.

The defence has been much-maligned and leaking so many goals substantiates that argument. In their defence they are often at sixes and sevens with extra men galloping through, because other players let their men sally up field unmarked. However, I cannot understand why this sextet – and it could be any six – do not realise that their first duty is to mark their own men. Too often they stand off their opponents and gift them the initiative.

These are elite players who have been coached in the art of defence in their own clubs since they were juveniles. Too often, some but not all, do not seem to understand that there really is no defined tackle in Gaelic football, but you can get in close. Use your hands strategically and prevent the attacker scoring or laying it off to a fellow player. That’s all legitimate and there is no need to concede a free. I could name several players at club level who operate this defensive tactic so successfully. Great Kerry backs of the past did it. I think of players such as Paudie Lynch and Mike McCarthy.

The present Kerry defenders are plenty fit enough. They need to be near their direct opponents and be pro-active instead of being reactive. Rarely is there need for a long inaccurate clearance. A hand pass, or preferably an accurate punt kick will set the Kerry forwards in motion.

The Kerry full back line should not be drawn 50 yards from goal and certainly not sprinting out as a link man into the opposition’s territory. How often have we seen it by some of these defenders? Mind the house, don’t leave the goalkeeper exposed and the goal leakage will dry up, or curtailed at worst.

I also feel that Gavin Crowley should not be lured into up field sallies. He has a very onerous job. He must mind his man and also mark space. Tim Kennelly and Mick Morris before him were not classy players but were highly effective centre-backs. No yawning gaps to allow Brian Fenton, Eoin Murchan, or Jack McCaffrey exploit this this tempting mortal sin.

Primary duty for wing backs Paul Murphy and Gavin White is to mark their own man and when the two or three opportunities arise in the game they have the explosive pace to go up field to score or assist in a score. If that run breaks down it is not as serious, as if it happened to a centre back exposing the middle for those Dublin invaders.

MIDFIELD

Midfield has been a problem area for Kerry. David Moran has given Kerry great service over many years, but I contend that he should not be on the starting 15. He may well be on the finishing 15.

I like Diarmuid O’Connor. Big, strong, mobile, well able to score when the opportunity arises, he has a great engine and has youth on his side. Who should partner him?

Jack Barry is in the frame to start, but not Tommy Walsh.

I also expect Kerry to have a Plan B. My preference is to include Seán O’Shea and Paudie Clifford in the half-forward line, one of them centrally and both tasked with helping out at midfield. The older Clifford is mobile, brave and eager and could do a very effective smash and grab possession ploy. He should start. Now he is more even-tempered than he has been in the past. He can open a defence route one and knows when to deliver to the full forward line. I feel that we can get more out of Seán O’Shea.

I hope Peter Keane doesn’t fall back on the Cork gambit where the half-forward line’s role was to go back to their own half-back line helping out. Tracking back is important, but that last-ditch ploy inevitably draws out the inside forward line. Wouldn’t David Clifford’s marker love to see him 70 yards from goal? Even Kerry’s jewel will not score from that position. Again, send in the ball quickly to Kerry’s best scorers, Clifford and whoever is with him. Paul Geaney, Paudie Clifford, Tony Brosnan and Killian Spillane are in the frame to score.

You can have all the fitness in the world, elaborate game plans and astute use of the bench, but those ingredients alone will not propel Kerry forward in a realistic bid for Sam 2021. Pride in the geansaí will oil the winning machine.

Over to you the present Kerry players, whichever 15 starts v Clare, then Tipperary followed by Cork. Bryan McMahon the former Kerry player and songster was spot on with the importance of dúchas and tradition.

“You cannot box or bottle it, nor grasp it in your hand,
But pride of race and love of place inspire a love of land
.”

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Tom O’Sullivan and Tony Brosnan start as Keane makes raft of changes

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Tom O'Sullivan, Peter Keane and Tony Brosnan. Pics: Sportsfile.

Dingle defender Tom O’Sullivan and Dr Crokes sharpshooter Tony Brosnan have been named in a much-changed starting line-up for Kerry’s National League Round 3 match against Roscommon.

The pair had missed out on Kerry’s first two matchday squads of the season but they look set to feature from the off in Dr Hyde Park on Sunday. The game will be shown live on the TG4 Player (throw-in 3.45pm) with deferred coverage on TG4 at 5.35pm.

O’Sullivan is joined in the full back line by his namesake, Graham O’Sullivan, and Jason Foley, who moves from No. 2 to No. 3. Regular full back Tadhg Morley drops to the bench.

The versatile Brian Ó Beaglaoich will line out at half back alongside centre back Gavin Crowley and there will be a first start on the other wing for Mike Breen of Beaufort. First choice wing backs Paul Murphy and Gavin White are listed as substitutes.

David Moran and Diarmuid O’Connor retain their spots at midfield as Jack Barry misses out on the 26 for the second week in a row.

Stephen O’Brien gets his first start of the year at right half forward with Ronan Buckley of Listry on the 40 and Paul Geaney at 12 for the third consecutive fixture. Seán O’Shea is named amongst the subs.

There is no place on the panel for Killian Spillane as the Clifford brothers, David and Paudie, are joined in the full forward line by Brosnan. David will captain the side in Paul Murphy’s stead.

As expected, Kieran Fitzgibbon holds on to the No. 1 jersey. Eoghan O’Brien of Churchill has been drafted into the extended panel to provide extra cover in the absence of the injured Shane Ryan, but goalkeeping coach Brendan Kealy continues to deputise as sub keeper.

Liam Kearney of Spa makes his first matchday squad of the campaign.

Roscommon, meanwhile, are expected to name their team tomorrow. Listowel native Conor Cox, who made seven appearances for Kerry before transferring to the Rossies in 2019, was a 50th-minute substitute in both of their matches to date.

Following those defeats to Dublin and Galway, Anthony Cunningham’s side will be facing into a relegation playoff semi-final whatever the outcome of Sunday’s match.

Kerry can mathematically join them in the bottom two but Peter Keane’s men would need to lose by at least 14 points and Galway would also need to beat Dublin.

Kerry team to face Roscommon

1. Kieran Fitzgibbon (Kenmare Shamrocks)

2. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses)

3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue)

4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)

6. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe)

7. Mike Breen (Beaufort)

8. David Moran (Kerin’s O’Rahilly’s)

9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil)

10. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks)

11. Ronan Buckley (Listry)

12. Paul Geaney (Dingle)

13. David Clifford (Fossa)

14. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes)

15. Paudie Clifford (Fossa)

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Adam Moynihan: So many GAA rules need tidying up

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Seán O'Shea evades the challenges of Brian Fenton and John Small. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Is there a sport in the world that alters its rulebook more frequently than Gaelic football? Every year when the first ball is thrown in, we’re left scratching our heads, frantically googling “GAA rule changes”, trying to come to terms with the latest updates to our playing protocol.

The changes to the advantage rule are causing consternation at the moment but the irony is that the game already has a number of laws that are either vague or poorly enforced. Below are just a few that come mind.

Surely it would make sense to iron these out before we even think about introducing further amendments.

1. Advanced mark. At its best (I would say less than 10% of the time), the advanced mark is a decent rule that rewards long-kicking and catches close to the goal. At its worst (the remaining 90% of the time), it’s a stupid rule that rewards nothing skills like short-kicking and unchallenged chest-catches. Plus, it abruptly stops the play for no good reason.

Of all the rule changes in recent years, it possibly holds the title of ‘most hated’. It simply has to go.

2. The tackle. You can only use one hand, but sometimes that’s a foul. You can only use an open hand, but sometimes that’s a foul. You can’t pull an opponent, but sometimes you can. You can’t push an opponent, but sometimes you can. What is a Gaelic football tackle? It’s so vague and open to interpretation. From game to game and even from tackle to tackle, you never really know what’s going to be foul and what isn’t.

It’s a difficult one for rule-makers to sort out but it’s not going to sort itself out, that’s for sure.

3. Booking both players when there’s a wrestling match. The ball is coming up the field. As the play approaches, a corner forward and a corner back become entangled and end up rolling around on the ground. Who do you think initiated that contact? Who has something to gain from that wrestling match? It’s almost always the defender. Is the forward supposed to go limp and play dead like they’re being attacked by a grizzly bear?

They have to stand up for themselves, and they shouldn’t be booked for doing so.

4. Feigning injury. The law states that attempting “to achieve an advantage by feigning a foul or injury” is a bookable offence. While the “foul” part can be tricky to spot on the fly, the latter half of the rule is generally far more black and white. Thankfully, players flopping to the ground and holding their faces when they’ve barely been touched is less prevalent in Gaelic football than it is in other sports, but it does happen. Yet how many yellow cards have been brandished for this infraction?

The shame of getting booked for playacting would be a huge deterrent and help stamp this behaviour out for good. It should be punished to the letter of the law.

5. Moving frees too far forward for dissent/impeding the kick. When a free is awarded, the penalty for dissent or impeding/slowing down the taking of the free is 13 metres. How many times have we seen an over-zealous referee bring the ball forward 20 metres or more?

I recall playing a minor game for Legion out in Rathmore. I committed a foul outside of our 65-metre line. For questioning the call, the ref carried the ball forward well inside our 45. For questioning the distance, he brought it in – and this isn’t a joke or an exaggeration – to the 13-metre line. That’s roughly 55 metres of a penalty instead of 26.

That’s an extreme example, granted, but even a five-metre bonus out the field could change the course of a match.

6. Hop balls. From the throw-in at the start of each half, every player bar the four midfielders is meant to be inside the two 45-metre lines. A metre or two encroachment here or there isn’t the end of the world, but in the 2019 All-Ireland final we saw what happens when the rule isn’t properly enforced. At the beginning of the second half, there were two extra players within the 65s by the time David Moran touched the ball down. Another six were just about to enter. One of those six, Eoin Murchan, gathered possession and scored a season-defining goal.

If a rugby or soccer player got away with being 20 metres offside from a kick-off, the referee would be demoted to the lower leagues in a flash.

Hop balls during open play are even messier. The players not contesting should be 13 metres away from the referee. The most you’d normally get is five, and that’s if the referee makes a big song and dance about it. By the time the ball reaches its apex there is invariably a sea of bodies awaiting its return to earth, and the resulting maul is anything but pretty.

Allowing the two nominated players to properly compete for the hop ball would lead to a greater possibility of clean possession, and some football as opposed to a spot of rugby.

7. Steps. Speaking of that Eoin Murchan goal… (No, I will not let it go.) The manner in which players travel with the ball is one of the most fundamental aspects of Gaelic football, yet it is arguably the least properly policed. Four steps is the rule. Four steps before you have to release the ball or hop or solo. But, of course, the inside joke is that it’s not four, is it? Not really. Sometimes five is okay. Sometimes six. You’d get away with seven. Maybe eight. Possibly nine. Ten? Ten is taking liberties. But yes, you could feasibly get away with ten as well.

Stringently enforcing this particular law might seem like a potential nightmare because players are so used to getting away with five or more steps. It would certainly prove contentious at the beginning, but everyone would adjust.

As it stands, it’s just another half-enforced rule that makes you wonder why they bothered writing it down in the first place.

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