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Pat Spillane Bemoans Modern Gaelic Football With Intriguing Andy Farrell Comparison

Pat Spillane Bemoans Modern Gaelic Football With Intriguing Andy Farrell Comparison
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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The final day of the football league on Sunday saw plenty of promotion and relegation permutations at play, but it's fair to say the action throughout the league has been far from riveting.

Low-scoring games have been frequent this year, even in Division One clashes between teams with serious hopes of winning the Sam Maguire cup in July.

Ahead of the final weekend of league action, Pat Spillane has once again spoken out about the lack of quality on display in modern football. Writing in his column for the Sunday World, Spillane made an intriguing comparison to Andy Farrell's effect on the Irish rugby team as the type of shot-in-the-arm needed to save Gaelic football.

Pat Spillane makes interesting Andy Farrell statement

Though his reign as Ireland coach saw the team win three Six Nations titles, the final days of Joe Schmidt's time in charge saw the team struggle to maintain the high levels reached in the mid-2010s.

The New Zealand coach ultimately left his role after a disastrous 2019 World Cup, which saw Ireland lose to Japan in the pool stages before suffering a hammering at the hands of the All Blacks in the quarter-finals.

His successor, Andy Farrell, has had a marked effect on the Irish camp, leading them to an historic first ever test series win in New Zealand last summer, before a memorable Grand Slam win earlier this month.

Andy Farrell Six Nations trophy

18 March 2023; Head coach Andy Farrell celebrates with the Six Nations trophy after the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Many have commented on the improved morale in the camp since Farrell took over in 2020, with ex-Ireland man Jerry Flannery saying he had never seen an Irish camp in such good spirits.

Pat Spillane thinks the GAA could learn from the Irish rugby team's dramatic change over the past three years.


Speaking on the at-times dour action seen in the football league this year, Spillane pointed to a number of games which have seen infrequent scores from play and a lack of creativity from players.

He said that the recent success of the Irish rugby team could be attributed in part to the encouragement of Farrell and his "player-led approach." Spillane suggested that Gaelic football is in dire need of a "Farrell-type figure" to change coaching attitudes and allow players to express themselves on the pitch:

Remember Ireland’s last rugby coach Joe Schmidt. Under him Ireland played a joyless brand of rugby, featuring safety-first tactics, with the players programmed to within an inch of their lives once they crossed the white line.

Andy Farrell has opted for a less rigid, player-led approach. He trusts his players to do the right thing on the field. As a result of that, Ireland now play an attractive brand of rugby; the players have a smile on their face and they’re winning matches.

We need an Farrell-type figure to save Gaelic football. What is needed is a coaching revolution. Players have to be trusted again.

They must be allowed to play off the cuff and adopt to changing circumstances. Otherwise our great game will just become unwatchable and unenjoyable.

It's an intriguing comparison, and it is certainly hard to argue with his point on the strengths of Farrell's approach to coaching.

Fans would certainly be happy to see coaches move towards more expressive styles of play though, if the league is anything to go by, it looks like they may be disappointed in this year's championship.

SEE ALSO: Fans Stunned As Stephen Cluxton Makes Shock Return To Dublin Panel

Stephen Cluxton Dublin return




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