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'Did the game really need this?' | McManus questions advanced mark rule

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

13:38 27 Nov 2019

Monaghan forward Conor McManus is the latest player to question the need for the new advanced mark rule in Gaelic football, after raising his concerns on OTB AM. 

The rule, which was introduced in the National Football League last year but makes its Championship debut in 2020, will see forwards have the option to take a free when they catch the ball from a kick of more than 20 metres in the opposing half.

The rule has had its supporters and critics with Dublin's Jack McCaffrey last month describing the rule as "awful" for slowing down the game.

The rule was created in an attempt to encourage kicking in attacking football but speaking on Wednesday's OTB AM McManus tended to agree with parts of McCaffrey's sentiment.

Asked if he was a fan of the new rule, McManus professed his uncertainty.

"To be honest with you, it's a tricky one because, yes, it encourages kicking and it encourages kicking from distance into the forward line but I do see it having an effect on slowing the game down to an extent because if you catch a ball around the edge of the 'D' and you're straight in front of the goal you're more than likely going to stop and take your point rather than take on your man and try work for a goal.

"It may take that little bit of attacking flair inside the 30-yard line out of the game which isn't something that we want to see," he added.

Although McManus had some success himself from the attacking mark last season and it's advantages favour forwards most, the Clontibret O'Neills man is more concerned about the rule's potential to infringe on the game's spectacle and flow.

"If you look at some of the best attackers in the country at the moment, and Conn O'Callaghan comes to mind straight away because he is one player who nearly always turns and goes straight at his man, it is something that you don't want to see going out of the game, but it may encourage more kicking in the game too.

"Having said that, I do think the game was coming back to a more attacking style all the while and we were beginning to figure things out and working our way away from defensive systems more so as the years had gone on.

"It's hard to know did we really, really need it? But I guess now we just have to get on with it," McManus said.

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