Fitzgerald backs motion on penalties and 20m frees

‘It’s about safety, 100%,’ says Davy Fitzgerald

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald and Seoirse Bulfin at  Cusack Park, Ennis, on Sunday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald and Seoirse Bulfin at Cusack Park, Ennis, on Sunday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 14:23

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald has given his backing to the motion to next weekend’s annual congress, which seeks to restrict penalties and 20-metre frees in hurling to being struck on the 20-metre line rather than lifted and hit inside the mark.

The tactic was developed to expert levels by Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash who scored a goal against Clare in last year’s All-Ireland final and replay.

“Has to happen, has to happen, has to happen,” said Fitzgerald after yesterday’s opening-weekend win in the league against Kilkenny.

“There are no ifs, ands or buts. It is about safety, 100 per cent.

“If you had a son inside in goals and he gets the sliotar from 12 or 13 yards into the throat or any part of the lower body, that is going to do damage. This has to be common sense, nothing else.

“Please don’t do what counties want you do to. Vote for common sense and do the right thing. It is a no-brainer, this one.

“If you have to look at something else, bring the free out a yard or putting only one in goals, do something. Let’s protect; you are telling me that it might never happen, I’m telling you from inside in goals that there are some balls you don’t even see.  

“If they hit you in the neck you haven’t a hope, you just haven’t a hope. I really hope this is a motion that every county really gets behind. There is no other reason. Because we could all get our free-takers to work of a style like that and get out free-takers to end up on the 13 yard line.

“We can all work on that, I don’t want to work on it. I really don’t want to work on it.”

He also responded to his Kilkenny counterpart Brian Cody’s endorsement last week of his former team-mate Eddie Keher’s proposal to abandon yellow and red cards.

“Listen, let’s be straight about this,” said Fitzgerald. “If something is cynical it has to be dealt with, yellow or red. Could I give out to Brian Gavin (Sunday’s referee) for giving Brendan Bugler a yellow card? I couldn’t.

“It was a yellow card and it needed to be dealt with. If they are out there they need to be dealt with, end of story, or red. Let’s be intelligent, we don’t need to send off lads willy-nilly.

“If it is very bad the person goes, end of story. Let’s just enjoy our game – that is important.”