The new kick-out rule will be ideal for Cork given the power of Mark White

The new kick-out rule will be ideal for Cork given the power of Mark White
Cork's goalkeeper Mark White breaks from Kerry's Paul Geaney. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

INTER-county managers, players, tacticians and everyone else with the hump about the three hand-pass rule got their way with its abolition by Central Council delegates at the weekend.

It received little or no support from all involved with teams competing in the pre-season competitions and promptly got booted into touch ahead of the start of the national football league next weekend.

In fact, Tyrone and Armagh couldn't wait to restore the old order so when word filtered north they immediately went back to the tried and trusted (and overwhelmingly boring) way of playing in the Dr McKenna Cup final on Saturday evening.

Accordingly, a surfeit of hand-passing going sideways and backwards awaits those supporters handing over even more of their hard-earned cash at the turnstiles as the second most important competition in the country gets underway.

Yet, the group which drew up plans to try and improve the state of football and make it more attractive and entertaining didn't have their time and efforts wasted completely because the other four rule changes received the green light.

The most significant is the kick-out, such an important aspect of the game today, and it will be interesting to see how teams figure it out, especially All-Ireland champions, Dublin, who rely so much on Stephen Cluxton's re-starts.

His kicks will now be taken from the 20m line and must cross the 45m line before a defender can get his mitts on it or if it's played by an opposing player.

If there's a rule infringement the kick-out is cancelled and the ball thrown in on the defending team's 20m line.

The whole point of the exercise is to promote high fielding around the centre of the pitch and eradicate the short kick-out so perfected by Cluxton, who set the tone for the rest of his fellow keepers to follow.

Cork custodian, Mark White, should benefit from the change because he possesses a booming kick from a short run-up and is well capable of launching the ball huge distances.

Another introduction governs sideline kicks, which must now be played forward at all times except when it's from inside the 20m line of the opposing team. Any breach will result in the cancellation of the kick and the ball thrown-in.

Currently, a 'mark' is available to a player making a clean catch from a kick-out between the two 45m lines, but it's being extended closer to goal now, as well, though with certain conditions.

It must come from a kick in open play delivered by an attacking player on or past the opposing team's 45m line and must travel a minimum of 20m and without touching the ground.

The player signals his intention to call the 'mark' by immediately raising an arm upright and then has 15 seconds to make his play, including trying for a score.

The introduction of a sin-bin is likely to be met with approval generally. A player shown a black card will now spend 10 minutes cooling his heels on the sideline.

The time will be monitored by the fourth official or by the referee. A second black card will result in a red.

Meanwhile, CIT attempt to keep their Sigerson Cup bid on track, when travelling to play IT Carlow tomorrow night at 7pm.

The Cork students were unlucky to be paired away to the holders and favourites, UCD, in round 1, but still put up a decent showing despite conceding five goals in a 5-8 to 0-10 loss.

Their team included players with McGrath Cup experience, goalkeeper Chris Kelly (Éire Óg), Aidan Browne (Newmarket), Paul Walsh (Kanturk) and Kevin O'Donovan (Nemo Rangers), who scored 0-3.

Dan Ó Duinnín from county intermediate champions, Cill na Martra, went one better by contributing four points. Carlow lost to DUC Dóchas Éireann by 1-16 to 0-14.

Two Cork schools are involved in the quarter-finals of the Frewen Cup (Munster Post-Primary Schools U16½ Football Championship) tomorrow.

Coláiste Chríost Rí meet St Brendan's Killarney while St Francis College Rochestown take on Intermediate School Killorglin. Roco defeated High School Clonmel by 3-10 to 0-13 in round 1. Coláiste Spioraid Naoimh and Hamilton High School lost at the same stage. 

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