“Foul, foul, foul if anyone is near the goal”

Cork football goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran criticises 20-metre rule change in hurling and says it will encourage fouling

Cork’s Ken O’Halloran at the launch off Gaelic Performance, the new official county glove range in Croke Park. “I’ve played a bit of hurling and I just think fellas will be fouling, just giving away penalties if there is a goal chance.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Cork’s Ken O’Halloran at the launch off Gaelic Performance, the new official county glove range in Croke Park. “I’ve played a bit of hurling and I just think fellas will be fouling, just giving away penalties if there is a goal chance.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 01:00

Ken O’Halloran, the incumbent Cork football goalkeeper, believes the GAA’s decision to ensure 20-metre free-pucks must be stuck before the 20-metre line will encourage fouling.

“I’ve played a bit of hurling and I just think fellas will be fouling, just giving away penalties if there is a goal chance,” said O’Halloran, who is a dual player with the Bishopstown club.

There are few certainties in a sporting life. One of them is if you are a hurling goalkeeper from Cork and take to twitter to criticise the management committee of the GAA for a rule change the day before you are due to sit before the media in Croke Park you will be asked about it until the line of questioning is rung dry.

It didn’t take too long and O’Halloran was comfortable under the microscope at yesterday’s launch of Gaelic Performance (the official county glove range).

Tuesday evening’s tweet said: “@kenohall: Conversion rates for penalties will drop to around 20%!! Foul foul foul if anyone is near the goal! #noblackcardeither #Ridiculous”

The 27-year-old school teacher’s point is there will be a lot more points taken under the rule alteration.

“I don’t know what the [scoring] ratio is for hurling penalties but it is tough enough to score [a goal] from them with three fellas on the line. I think bringing it back is a massive weapon gone for Cork, which is unfortunate.”

Rule change

The Cork hurlers have only scored four goals from their last 13 penalties, according to The Evening Echo, which does not include the two goals from Anthony Nash’s 20-metre frees in last year All-Ireland final.

It’s all well and good criticising a rule change but O’Halloran did suggest removing the two defenders that are on the line with the goalkeeper.

“I think you would nearly take your point unless you really needed a goal,” he added.

The newly interpreted rule 2.2 will be enforced by referee James McGrath in the Munster hurling semi-final between Clare and Cork on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Monaghan medical team is facing a tough decision with regards to Conor McManus’s healing yet torn ankle and knee ligaments.

A current All Star and tip of the Ulster champions spear, McManus refuses to give up hope of featuring in Sunday’s provincial semi-final in Clones.

Despite suffering the injuries playing club football over the May Bank Holiday weekend, he is back jogging following cryotherapy in Wexford, oxygen chamber sessions in Newry and a visit to Seán Boylan. In his spare time the fifth-generation Dunboyne herbalist guided Meath to four All-Ireland titles from 1987 to 1999.

“I’ll not give up trying just yet,” said McManus. “I’ve exhausted every avenue at this stage. . . It’s about how it reacts over the next few days.”

Own welfare

The concern is that McManus’s desperation to return could damage his medium- to long -term recovery.

“You have to think of your own welfare in term of being fit for the rest of the summer. Either way, win or lose, there is going to be a game in two weeks’ time.”

The Ulster final is on July 20th. “I would imagine another two weeks would see you right,” he added.

Who makes the final decision, you or the medics?

“In fairness it is on the medics’ call. I have to make the sensible call. You’d like to push it but if you’re going to be there and declare yourself fit when in your own heart you know you’re not, you’re no good to the team so you have to get the balance right somewhere along the line.”

McManus hasn’t trained with the team or kicked a football and only recently took off an air cast.

“Initially I was told it is a 10 to 12 week injury. Week six will be on Friday.

“I definitely have healed but I probably haven’t healed sufficiently.” CARLOW (SFC v Meath): P Coady; R Mahon, S Mernagh, BJ Molloy; G Power, D St Ledger, B Kavanagh; H Gahan, D Foley; M Meaney, C Moran, D Bambrick; P Broderick, S Kinsella, C Coughlan.

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