Brian Fenton calls for more player-rule consultation

by Cóilín Duffy

Brian Fenton has urged GAA officials to listen to players, as the GAA’s top ranking officers mull over rule changes ahead of GAA Congress in Croke Park next week.

A total of 63 motions are up for consideration including one from Kildare aiming to stop footballers receiving a kick-out being able to pass the ball back to the goalkeeper.

Fenton is among a number of players, such as former Mayo star Andy Moran, who have expressed concern over “the advanced mark”, which has been trialled during the league.

“Looking at the new rules, the GPA were asked for their opinions from the players but I don’t think really they were consulted in lots of ways,” Fenton said at the launch of Mitsubishi Motors partnership with Dublin GAA.

“Players would love to be consulted; I know, and the GPA leads that from the front and they ask for huge surveys.

“Players are crying out to give feedback on the current status of the game and what works and doesn’t work.

“New rules were brought in without consultation with referees, as well.

“Look, we’ve a magical game, and a magical sport, and we’re doing so much to try to ‘fix’ it… is it really in such bad health?

“I think gate receipts were up last year. People still love the game. There’s a transition back to offensive football.

“It’s in a good place. Let’s just steady on about changing too much.

“So look, consult players, consult refs, get opinions, add things that you might think help the game, but it’s our game at the end of the day.

“Don’t change it for anything else.”

There’s been much talk recently of a number of Ladies Gaelic Footballers switching codes to Aussie Rules, with Fenton revealing he has got the call to go Down Under in the past.

“I got a call once from Tadhg Kennelly when I was in my first year with Dublin,” he revealed.

“I was 22 and the trials were on at the same time as the Dublin holiday that year. We went on holiday in December after winning the All-Ireland.

“They just clashed and I never heard from Tadhg again. I haven’t regretted staying, certainly not.”

Fenton says while the sport offers some positives, it’s not one he is overly attracted too.

“When you’re a kid, you see the highlight videos – the unbelievable catches. You see the boys out there now on their highlight videos, the likes of Mark O’Connor,” he said.

“I’ve watched a few games and the ball leads to it being scrappy.

“The lifestyle of a professional athlete is obviously very attractive when we’re training borderline professional. It’s always tempting.

“I can see why lads go to live that life and see what it’s all about.

“At the same time, I’m very lucky to play in this generation with Dublin and I wouldn’t change anything for the world.”

Dublin are back in action at Croke Park on Saturday evening at 7pm against Donegal.

They currently share the led at the head of the Division One table with one win and two draws from their three outings to date but seven sides are covered by just a single point.

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