KILDARE manager Jason Ryan believes the GAA’s clampdown on cynical fouling will help his team in 2014.
After adopting the proposals of the Football Review Committee last year, the GAA have introduced a new black card for referees to use. Any player receiving a black card will have to be substituted.
“I like the rules and fear the criticism of them,” admits Ryan. “If the black card is done on a consistent basis then I think it will be brilliant. For the likes of Kildare who are athletic and have good runners, we want our players to be rewarded for good runs, we want our players to be anxious to take on men. We want to play a game where we go at them. By taking on your man you are being rewarded in two ways. One you are getting a free and a black card and the other is that you are being acknowledged for that run. If he doesn’t pull you down you’ve gone past him and created an overlap, and overlaps are where goal chances come from. We want to create scoring chances and create as many goal chances as we can during the year.”
While the new rules may benefit Kildare going forward, Ryan has had to change habits at the back.
“Over the last few years you would have attempted to block runners, now you just can’t do it. It’s more of a mindset thing,” said Ryan. “Sometimes when you block a man it’s more down to laziness. If you block you don’t have to run after the man. Now, you can’t afford to do it, you have to go with him. That could lead to more energy levels being expended and games opening up more as players get tired. It could also mean that substitutions are even more important.”
The more eagle-eyed supporters will have noticed Ryan and the entire management team sitting in the stands for the duration of the games in St Conleth’s Park so far this year and you can expect that experiment to continue for next week’s game and even beyond.
“Last year I really enjoyed watching the game from there (stand). O’Byrne Cups prepare for the league and the league prepares for the championship and I would question the effectiveness of a manager trying to shout on a sideline when there are 82,000 people in Croke Park at the height of the summer. In my experience, certainly in the games against Dublin, my selectors couldn’t hear me talk when I was standing beside them, never mind me trying to shout on to the pitch. It’s something that we are experimenting with at the moment. I’m able to speak to the selectors and we have the guys doing the stats beside us. The other side is that we learn from each other and how we view things. Now is the time to look at these.”
Ryan’s predecessor was known for his calm demeanour on the sideline and while the new manager is more animated during games, he is keen to continue much of what Kieran McGeeney implemented last season.
“I agreed a huge amount with the philosophy that we had last year with Kieran and Damien (Hendy). We’re tweaking a few things, changing a few things but not an awful lot. Regardless of tactics, an awful lot of it is going to be the same: Have ball, keep ball, score. Don’t have ball, win ball back and try to stop the opposition. All of that is going to be the same but it’s about maximising the talent and the physical attributes that our players have. We are a very athletic bunch of players, we just need to come up with a game plan in an attacking and defensive way that maximises our ability,” he said.