Time to make rugby tackles a part of the GAA and Brolly forced to eat a little humble pie
A prominent Kerry and Munster GAA man thinks it's time rugby tackles became a legitimate part of the GAA, while Joe Brolly has had to eat a little bit of humble pie following his explosive rant at the weekend.
Time to make rugby tackles a part of the GAA?
If you can't beat them, join them, eh?
Cynicism in the GAA is a hot talking point at the moment given Sean Cavanagh's controversial 'tackle' on Conor McManus on Saturday and the subsequent sh*tstorm that followed over Joe Brolly's rather forthright opinions on the matter.
Amidst all the talk about the black card and the ferocity of Brolly's rant, one thing that has been overlooked a little is the need to define the tackle in the GAA and in Gaelic Football in particular, an issue which has been a bone of contention for Kieran McGeeney amongst others in recent years.
According to Sean Walsh, former Munster and Kerry chairman and former manager of the Irish International Rules team, the easiest thing to do is to introduce a rugby/Aussie Rules style tackle in order to clear up confusion about the tackle and to ensure that the pulling down of players - which is fairly rampant at the moment - is a legitimate method of confronting an opposition player.
“What I found in my two years as manager of the International Rules team was the tackle was tidied up. It stopped players bringing the ball into the tackle because they knew they would lose it if they didn’t use it," Walsh is quoted as saying in the Irish Examiner.
“It opened up the play completely and the ball moved faster. In training, players adapted to it and got into the habit of using the ball instead of holding onto it for long periods.
“That sort of tackle would increase the amount of kicking and reduce solo runs because players don’t want to be caught and either lose the play or concede a free.”
Walsh's suggestion might be a little too radical in an association which introduces changes at a pace that even a snail would find comfortable, but at least it's being talked about, right?
Brolly forced to eat a little humble pie
While we're on the subject of that Cavanagh tackle and Brolly's rant, the Derryman wasn't backing down when quizzed about it on the Last Word on Today FM yesterday evening, but while he wasn't about to apologise to Cavanagh or Mickey Harte, he did have to say sorry to the Swatragh under-16 team in Derry, who he referenced on The Saturday Game and mentioned in a column in the Irish Mail on Sunday.
In the course of criticising Tyrone's cynical approach, Brolly mentioned that a friend of his in charge of the Glen under-16 team had told him of how Swatragh played two sweepers and systematically brought down opponents in a cynical manner.
Not surprisingly, Swatragh weren't happy and they posted an open letter in the County Derry Post expressing their anger at what he had to say in print and on live television. Brolly, however, it has since been revealed, contacted Swatragh chairman Liam McQuillan on Sunday to say sorry.
"On Sunday evening, I was contacted by Joe Brolly who apologised for the inaccuracies in his article which were, in our opinion, an insult to Swatragh and a slight on the young players involved in what had been an exceptionally good football match," McQuillan is quoted as saying in the County Derry Post.
One might think that having to make such an apology might affect the strength of Brolly's opinions in future but somehow, we doubt it.