While there have been plenty of brilliant games thus far in the Allianz National Football leagues, the recent increase in diving has become a major issue for the GAA to tackle. The start of the leagues this year has undoubtedly seen an increase in the amount of GAA players diving, with players going down from mere brushes off other players. A number of incidents during the Roscommon-Mayo and Galway-Monaghan games last weekend propelled the topic into the public domain once again with everyone short of the GAA offering their opinion.
Speaking at an AIG Dublin GAA event, seven-time All-Ireland winner Dean Rock issued some very welcome words on the situation. Rock is one of the most esteemed intercounty players on the scene, as well as a forward, and the Ballymiun Kickhams player didn't hold back in his criticism of those players who chose to go down to easily
It’s kind of embarrassing if you are behaving in that manner
It’s a personal decision, it’s up to yourself but it wouldn’t be something that I would do, I don’t think I have ever done it, don’t think many of the players on our team have done it.
It’s something that myself or any of the lads on our team wouldn’t condone, I don’t think we see too many Dublin players going down or trying to buy frees or win frees too often
Players drive to win the cause of diving, says Rock
Describing his worry at the emergence of lads throwing themselves to the ground, Dean Rock was sure it was an emerging trend driven by players' needs to win no matter what, but said it was something the GAA needed to sort out.
The stakes are so high, teams just want to win, players want to win, managers want to win, but there is a way of winning.
It’s certainly becoming a problem in Gaelic football. Like, just the amount of free counts for one team compared to the other, across the board in most games, is through the roof. So it is certainly something that is prevalent in the game.
It’s certainly something that probably needs to be addressed by the powers that be, because it’s difficult for referees when the game is so fast. It’s certainly an issue that needs to be looked at.
Rock was also concerned by the impacts the recent spate of incidents could have on the game, particularly younger players.
It’s not a good thing for the game, it’s not good for young kids looking in and seeing this, any sort of touch and fellas going down.
It probably is worrying times at the moment, because there are more cases each week that you are seeing of this. Hopefully it is stamped out between now and the championship.
Bringing about change on this issue will involve respected players like Rock speaking publicly, and hopefully those in the GAA's disciplinary offices will take heed of Rock's warning on this issue.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice also called on GAA refs to issue yellow cards for simulation to show other players that they won't get away it.
Dean Rock and Dublin currently sit second in the Division Two table after their narrow loss to Derry on Saturday, they'll be looking to get their season back on track when they head down the road to play Meath this Saturday at 3 pm.