Gaelic Football’s experimental rules look ‘more proactive’ for Galway’s Ian Burke

Corofin forward playing mix and match between club and county at present

Anyone still mildly confused by the implementation or exact purpose of football’s experimental rules should spare a thought for Ian Burke. Half the time he’s trying to remember, the other half trying to forget.

While back training with Corofin ahead of their All-Ireland club semi-final against Gweedore on February 16th, a competition where the rules aren’t being trialled, he’s also mixing things up by training with the Galway panel, where much of the focus is getting used to the rules during the FBD League, and possibly the Allianz Football League.

Central Council will meet again on Saturday week to confirm which of the five experimental rules will go forward to the league for further trial, and there is some expectation, specifically given the criticism of the limiting of hand passing to three, they won’t all make it that far,

For Burke, his 2018 football All Star Galway’s first since 2003, when current manger Kevin Walsh was honoured, the main focus for now is with Corofin, given his return from a recent rib injury. Should some or all the rules make it to the league then only time will tell his preference.


“Yeah, they’re interesting, I suppose they’re more proactive,” he says. “I know the three hand passes is a funny one so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. I think they’re trying to be proactive and trying to move Gaelic football into a more expansive and more exciting game but that being said I’d have to see it played out in game situations to see how they actually affect the game.”

Clear rivals

Walsh however has already admitted he’s not a fan, the latest test of that being with Galway face still clear rivals Mayo in the semi-final of the FBD league this Sunday.

“It’s tough when you’re going back and trying new rules for a while and then they’re gone and you’re mixing and matching and things,” says Burke. “Look, they’re the rules, you’ve got to play with them for whatever competition you’re in but it’ll be interesting to see how they play out. We’re playing Mayo on Sunday and we’ll see how they play out there.

“You’ve just kind of got to play the rules as they are, it’s not something that I would have paid too much heed to. My game would involve handpassing quite a bit so it could be a good thing for me that it’s gone.

“But it’s a big change going from playing a whole pre-league, then full league and going back to old rules for championship. You’ve a good spell done with the new rules and then going back again to old rules, I’m kind of glad that it’s only the FBD at the moment because I want to see how it plays out there and then you can implement them after that.

“Previously it’s not something that you would have been keeping an eye on but with the rule now you would have to try and have an idea because given the fourth handpass for a fourth handpass is a cheap way to give away possession I suppose, it’s avoidable.”

New additions

Burke confirmed that while Cathal and Patrick Sweeney have opted out for 2019, Liam Silke and Cillian McDaid are new and welcome additions.

“Paddy got the goal against Kerry last year, it was a huge goal for us and Cathal was wing back for us all year so definitely huge losses. I think they had work commitments and that but you’ve got to respect that, but we’ve new lads coming in, Liam Silke and Cillian McDaid are two among others so we’re just looking to go hard again. Whoever commits, commits. we’ll work with whoever is there.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics