EXPERIMENTAL RULES: Former Donegal GAA star blasts those against change

Finian Ward said managers need to stop their moaning

Tom Comack


Tom Comack


EXPERIMENTAL  RULES:  Former Donegal GAA star blasts those against change

Donegal manager Declan Bonner and the other managers and coaches who are critical of the new experimental football playing rules, have been urged to stop their moaning and adopt the changes.
The call has been made this week by a former Donegal star player, who feels change is needed because the game has become boring and unattractive.
Finian Ward played for Donegal for over ten years in the 1970s and early ‘80s and up to recently was a regular match analyst on TG4 television.
The stylish former Naomh Columba wing-back was at the 2018 Donegal Sports Star awards launch in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny on Monday night.
He feels so strongly about the modern game that he said managers and coaches who advocate negative football, like kicking the ball back to their goalkeeper, should find another game.
He feels the game is going to have to change and insists there is far too much negativity in the modern game.
He is totally against playing the ball backwards and the overuse of the handpass.
Ward is a double Railway Cup winner with Ulster and while he admits he hasn’t seen any of the games under the new experimental rules so far this season, he insists change is needed.
“I actually haven’t seen any game so far. But there is no doubt in my mind we need to do something because the game has changed completely,” he insisted, when speaking to the Democrat at Monday night’s launch in the Mount Errigal Hotel.
“The game is boring to watch. A few games I have seen of late and in the last year or two, they look like training sessions. Indeed some training sessions would be more exciting to watch.
“And I’m really very annoyed with those people who are critical of the proposed changes.
“I was at the Leinster club final between Mullinalaghta and Kilmacud Crokes and at one stage I saw a player on his own ‘45’ line kicking the ball back to his own goalkeeper.
“That is not Gaelic football as far as I’m concerned.
“Recently I heard a county coach, his name escapes me now, say his team had no option but to kick the ball back to the goalkeeper.
“To a person like that I say go off and start a game of your own. That’s not Gaelic football and you are in the wrong game if you think like that.”

Finian Ward in his playing days for Donegal 

An advocate of the kicking of the ball he made a submission a number of years ago to Croke Park that all free kicks from inside a team’s own half and all sideline kicks should go forward.
“I have very strong opinions about it. I haven’t seen the games under the new experimental rules so it is hard for me to judge. But like everything else you can adapt too. But what I do know is the present setup is not satisfactory.
“The managers and coaches, instead of moaning and complaining all the time about the experimental rules as they are at the moment, should adapt as they are well able to do.”
Donegal manager, Declan Bonner, has been one of the staunchest critics of the experimental rules.
Finian Ward won a Donegal Senior Championship with Naomh Columba in 1978 and was the Donegal Sport Star Award winner for Gaelic Football in 1978.
He was in Letterkenny on Monday night to pick up an award to mark the 40th anniversary of his award in 1978.