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GAA Suggestion To End "Dummy Teams" Makes Perfect Sense

GAA Suggestion To End "Dummy Teams" Makes Perfect Sense
By Gavin Cooney
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Paul McGinley was among the speakers at the GAA's Games Development Conference on the weekend before last, and spoke of the influence his GAA background had on his preparations as captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup. These did not, alas, extend to the naming of a Dummy Team for golf's biennial cross-Atlantic jamboree. (As much as that would do to improve the spectacle of the Ryder Cup).

The naming of dummy teams is one among the GAA quirks not to travel too far from the association but remains as prevalent as ever, in spite of rules introduced in 2014 to curb the practice.

Myriad managers indulge in naming dummy teams, but Jim McGuinness elevated it to new heights in the 2014 All-Ireland final.  Both Christy Toye and Paddy McBrearty were in the starting 15 announced to the crowd at Croke Park for the All-Ireland Final. When the Donegal side lined up for the national anthem though, Rory Kavanagh and Darach O'Connor had taken their places.


Two months later, the GAA announced measures to curb all of this, forcing managers to name their starting teams no later than 9am on the Thursday before a senior championship game.

With the exception of the replacement of either goalkeeper, no changes could be made to the registered list under threat of forfeiture of the game.

This has not fully fixed the problem for Duffy, however, and he suggested a potential solution in his annual report for 2017.

This ended the practice of teams introducing players who were not listed in the panel of 26. But changes of status from starting player to substitute and vice versa within the 26 are now the norm and it is not unusual to see two or three alterations in personnel to the starting line-out.

I received one excellent suggestion during the year from the former Laois player Billy Sheehan as to how this problem can be addressed.

If a change is made to the starting 15 after the Thursday morning deadline, that change should be made to count as one of the six substitutions that a team may make during the game.

Team managers would think twice before knowingly naming an incorrect starting 15 if it reduced their options for substitution during the game.

Duffy told the media after the publication of his report that he hopes the idea will be picked up by a county board, and brought forward to Congress later this year.

See Also: Derek McGrath Explains Why One Of Waterford's Brightest Young Stars Is Taking A Break

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