Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Meath v Cork: Not a dirty game and well refereed

Maybe the Meath team of the '80's weren't such a dirty team afterall! What Gaelic football really needs is a rule limiting the number of consecutive handpasses not messing around with yellow cards.

FOR A GAME that gained a reputation for being ill-tempered, both McEnaney and Reilly agreed - while there was a certain amount of niggle - it was far from dirty. Indeed, aside from the aforementioned bookings, half of the starting 30 players emerged without so much as a ticking.

The free count at full-time was 57 - one every 72 seconds. Because frees were all taken from the ground, this slowed the game down a great deal. Every time a foul was committed it would take around 10 seconds at least before the match was under way again.
It's worth bearing in mind that 43 frees were awarded in the 2008 final, but 58 in 2007...

Aside from the disciplinary aspect of the match, there was one glaring difference between the style of football then and now. In the 2008 All-Ireland final, Tyrone and Kerry between them hand-passed the ball 205 times - a quite astonishing tally. Tyrone accounted for 110 of this total, but Kerry, known for a direct style, came not far behind on 95.

Contrast this to 1988, when Meath and Cork used the fisted pass a grand total of 73 times, with Meath - as if to underline their catch-and-kick approach - accounting for just 23 of that total. It's an amazing comparison and an interesting insight into the way the game has changed over the years.

Full article.

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