If you’re a maor uisce, your time to shine returns from this weekend.
The GAA have confirmed that “the provision for Water Breaks in our games is now removed from our Match Regulations with immediate effect.”
With the Allianz Football League set to get underway this Saturday – Carlow and London the focus of our live coverage on Saturday night – the GAA have announced changes to their match regulations which ultimately sees the scrapping of water breaks.
Per the GAA,
“Counties and Clubs should note that the provision for Water Breaks in our games is now removed from our Match Regulations with immediate effect. The following provisions in this context now apply”
“Two Maoir Uisce who must be over 18 years of age, are permitted per team; they may not enter the field of play. Each must wear an official bib (Football: Purple or Green | Hurling: Brown or Lilac) and will be situated as per the “Pitch Layout” in our Match Regulations, and at least two metres from the sideline.”
“Official team personnel (Selectors/Coaches), substitutes, injured players or members of the extended panel may not act as Maoir Uisce. In the event that any official team personnel, injured player(s) or a member of the extended panel act as a Maoir Uisce, any breach of rule, shall be considered as a Misconduct at Games by Team Officials infraction.”
“Maoir Uisce are not permitted to have/use Communications devices i.e. walkie talkies. In Hurling the Maoir Uisce will also act as Hurley Carriers & may enter the field of play with a replacement hurley when necessary. This will also mean that the number of people allowed access to the controlled zone for games in our Match Regulations will increase by 2 (i.e. from 40 to 42) to accommodate this change.”
Originally intended as a break in play to allow players take on fluids in front of their own areas, with their own individual bottles, more often than not we’ve seen the breaks turn into tactial or coaching sessions.
Said sessions then tended to run over the one-minute allowance, much like a boxer getting up from the stool slowly between rounds.
Per the Independent, the average water break in football ran 2:18 and 2:14 in hurling.
We’ve also seen plenty of games over the past year at least where the flow of a game or pattern of play has been turned on its head following a water break.
Now, with busy crowds expected and more noise to follow, it will be interesting to witness the return to ‘the norm’ when it comes to Gaelic games.