2016 FOOTBALLER OF the Year Lee Keegan is broadly in favour with the range of playing rules that were trialled in this year’s league campaign and believes the sin bin is a ‘more punishing’ than the black card in tackling indiscipline.

Keegan was part of the Mayo side that were crowned Division 1 league champions last month after a spring which saw further experimentation in Gaelic football.

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While the advanced mark and the sin bin, along with changes to the kick-out and sideline rules, will not be in operation for this summer’s championship, they may come on board for the 2020 season if passed at GAA Congress next year.

And Keegan, commenting after a league where he witnessed the impact of the new rules, did not believe they had a negative impact.

“I think as players they actually added well to the league to be honest. I actually kind of felt more sorry for the referees to be honest. The only (rule) that we were happy that didn’t come in was the handpass one. That would have been a tough one to manage.

“I don’t think the rules had an negative impact on the games during the league. A lot of our games were free-flowing. It was the best football league in a couple of years in terms of the quality, very few dull or drab games. A lot of teams went out to play football this year, they embraced the rules.”

Keegan would support the introduction of a sin bin as a penalty for a black card infraction.

“I think the sin bin was probably a bit more punishing than the actual black card because I think bringing an equally as good player on where the sin bin is you’re losing a man for 10 minutes so I think that enforced it quite well.

“Teams had to think about that a bit more if they are going to systematically foul as we say. That rule probably itself was definitely a consequence for a lot of teams throughout the league and definitely one that could be enforced maybe for the future.

“In the last ten minutes you could lose one of your best players. It was definitely a plus in the league and I think it should be brought in. It made a lot of players think ‘maybe I shouldn’t do something I would normally do here’.”

Mayo have had to revert to a familiar set of rules ahead of their 2019 championship run which commences with a trip to New York in early May.

Lee Keegan at yesterday’s John West Feile launch.

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“It was kind of a weird culture shock being back the week after (the league final) to train and the rules weren’t there,” admitted Keegan.

“We struggled a small bit with that transition. As a group we embraced the rules. If we were negative about it we wouldn’t have done as well as we did. We really worked hard on those rules.”

*Mayo footballer Lee Keegan was on hand today in Croke Park to launch the 2019 John West National Féile and to announce the sponsorship renewal for a further four years until 2022.

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