Cavan manager Mickey Graham says ‘unclear’ penalty rule should be suspended for championship

Cavan football manager Mickey Graham has called for the new rule which was introduced to combat cynical fouls to be scrapped for the upcoming championship.

The rule, which sees penalties awarded when a cynical foul is deemed to have denied a goalscoring opportunity inside the 21 or the ‘D’, was brought in at the GAA’s annual Congress for 2021, and was implemented in the National League in recent weeks.

However, the Ulster Championship-winning boss feels confusion reigns surrounding the rule.

“There is no real clarity on it at the moment,” said Graham.

“I have seen a few of them during the league as well that were not awarded so there is a bit of misunderstanding of what it should mean.

“I think definitely for the championship it should be looked at and maybe look at it in the league again next year. It is a very strange one to be honest and it puts the referees in a very difficult spot as well.

“Teams have put in a huge effort and maybe get a penalty [against them] in the wrong or maybe gets a penalty. Definitely I think it will be a big talking point in the championship without a doubt and it could be one that could swing a game either way.”

“There is no real clarity on it at the moment”

Graham feels there is no consistency to the rule

Although the GAA has committed for the rules to be implemented for the summer, Graham argues it should be suspended.

“I definitely do because it is very unclear as to what is a penalty or what is not a penalty,” he outlined.

“It is basically down to the referee’s discretion. The players themselves are unsure of it as well.

“I would be of the opinion to scrap it until they look at it again maybe in [next year’s] league.”

And Graham said that perhaps the laws of the game are changed too flippantly.

“Everyone has an opinion on how football should be played and what should be done. They are always looking to take strengths away from certain teams by getting rule changes but we have seen a lot of rule changes over the past couple of years,” he said.

“Have some of them been used to full effect? I would not think so,

“The mark and stuff like that…you see players winning the mark now and they still play on so they probably find it more beneficial to try and play the game as quickly as possible rather than slowing it down. Yeah, they probably gave into the rules a wee bit easy as well.

“Maybe if the managers on all county teams should have been asked about them and their opinion taken, and the players as well, who are the major stakeholders. There are other lads who make those decisions and not us.”

As it stands, the new penalty rule will be in place for the 2021 championship, and reviewed at the end of the year.

It was introduced in February after receiving broad support. A majority of 61 per cent voted in favour at the GAA’s Congress. Leinster GAA chief Pat Teehan was among those to speak out in its favour during the convention, warning cynical fouls were “becoming an acceptable part of our game”, with Offaly GAA chair Michael Duignan also arguing it would help to preserve the art of defending.

Tune into Inside The Game on Sky Sports Arena at 8:30pm Wednesday for our Football Championship preview.

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