Devin Toner omission causing debate; Do Gaelic football fans know the rules?

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Devin Toner has been left out of the squad for the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Devin Toner has been left out of the squad for the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Joe Schmidt’s 31-man Irish Rugby World Cup squad was announced yesterday with stalwart Devin Toner the surprise omission. Only 11 players survive from the squad chosen four years ago, and Jack McGrath, Toner, Jordi Murphy, Kieran Marmion and Will Addison are the most eye-catching players from the 40-man squad which were in training last week to miss the cut. John O’Sullivan explains that, surprisingly, Ireland has a more successful lineout strike rate of 92 per cent when Toner is not playing than the 89 per cent when he has started or come on as a replacement. Gerry Thornley admits that “Jean Kleyn’s inclusion after qualifying through the residency ruling two days before his debut against Italy four weeks ago will undoubtedly rankle the most with Irish fans,” while Matt Williams thinks getting rid of Toner beggars belief: “Who is going to boss Ireland lineouts now? Who is going to have the smarts to out-manoeuvre the well educated lineout defenders of New Zealand or South Africa? I can’t answer that. But I know Dev Toner could.”

In his column this morning Kevin McStay reflects on a truly wonderful All-Ireland final but explains how in Gaelic football, the followers don’t seem to think it important to know the actual rules of the game. And the same even applies for some players. On the issue of Jonny Cooper’s red card he writes: “Two noting offences mean a yellow card. So for the penalty, Cooper was told he was being noted. The next infraction was the foul on the 13-metre line. That was the second noting offence and it meant a yellow. What you have to understand is that the next noting foul means an automatic yellow. So Cooper’s third foul is an immediate yellow. And hence it was a double yellow and a red.”

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