Jim McGuinness: How to put wow factor back into Gaelic football

Simple rule changes could help the game move faster and free it from hand-pass hell

Donegal’s Paddy McGrath and Con O’Callaghan of Dublin compete for a high ball at the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 1 at Croke Park in July. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Donegal’s Paddy McGrath and Con O’Callaghan of Dublin compete for a high ball at the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final phase 1 at Croke Park in July. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

The week of the All-Ireland final is strange in that you have two teams working round the clock to make sure every detail is accounted for, while every other county in Ireland is already thinking about the 2019 season. But the implications of the outcome of the coaching we will see at play in Sunday’s final and, by extension, the All-Ireland winning template, can’t be overstated.

The video analysis carried out by all serious county – and club – teams now is microscopic. The recordings of next Sunday’s game will be worn out by analysts keen to absorb every pattern of play and defensive set-up to bring to their own dressing room. Coaches will conclude that the winning team, be it Dublin or Tyrone, have hit upon a winning template and will bring elements of that into their coaching. So if heavy defensive caution, short kick-outs, a proliferation of hand passing and backwards passing defines the All-Ireland final, coaches will figure that this is the way to go.

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