Cork want ‘Anthony Nash’ motion withdrawn from Congress

Maurice Shanahan ruled out of Waterford’s remaining National Hurling League fixtures

Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash scores from a 20m free during the All-Ireland hurling final replay against Clare. Photograph: Inpho.

Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash scores from a 20m free during the All-Ireland hurling final replay against Clare. Photograph: Inpho.

Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 01:00

Cork county chair Bob Ryan has called on GAA President Liam O’Neill to withdraw the “Anthony Nash” motion – restricting the strikers of penalties and 20-metre frees to the 20-metre line – from the clár ahead of next weekend’s annual congress at Croke Park.

Ryan is instead appealing for a proper debate on the state of the game as he fears that hurling is in danger of going into a “tail-spin” unless the sport’s stakeholders reach a consensus on key rules.

He is vexed by what he termed the “knee-jerk” decision to clamp down on players stealing yards from penalties and 20m frees, most notably Cork goalkeeper Nash, and referenced a YouTube clip containing rare footage of Christy Ring executing an almost identical technique to Nash’s when taking a 20-metre free.

The clip also features Kilkenny sharpshooters Henry Shefflin and DJ Carey striking dead balls from the same distance, while making ground after the initial lift. Tipperary’s Eoin Kelly and his Waterford namesake are also included in the clip, as well as former Wexford goalkeeper Damien Fitzhenry, Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald and Galway’s Joe Canning.

Ryan highlighted the footage to back up his assertion that the practice has been commonplace for a long time. Cork goalkeeper Nash became particularly high-profile for following suit last season.

Over the weekend, Fitzgerald insisted that the rule has to change for health and safety reasons, an argument Ryan rejects: “Health and safety is rubbish, I saw nobody being injured last year. I have a fair idea why this is happening but I can’t comment publicly on it.

“I’d ask the President to withdraw this motion and let’s have a proper forum, a proper debate now. Do what has to be done and leave hurling alone then for ten years. But I’m very slow to say there’s anything wrong with hurling.”

Ryan added: “I’d love to get the minutes of the committee meeting that came up with this.”

Meanwhile key forward Maurice Shanahan has been ruled out of Waterford’s remaining 1A fixtures. The Lismore clubman, sustained ankle ligament damage against Tipperary at Semple Stadium on Saturday and will be sidelined for four to six weeks.

Manager Derek McGrath revealed the news yesterday as he awaited the results of a scan on Seamus Prendergast’s injured hand. There are fears that Prendergast,could also be ruled out for an extended spell, if a break is detected.