It’s just common sense as GAA issue new safety guidelines

Players must not strike the ball after the 20-metre line when taking a free or penalty

Tempers flare after Cork’s Anthony Nash penalty had a penalty saved against Waterford last weekend. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Tempers flare after Cork’s Anthony Nash penalty had a penalty saved against Waterford last weekend. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 01:00

In the end the instruction was mostly common sense, as the GAA last night issued new guidelines to address the safety aspects of penalty and 20-metre free-taking in hurling.

At their meeting in Croke Park, Management Committee has requested Central Council to impose – with immediate effect – the new enforcement of rule 2.2 whereby a player taking a penalty or a 20m free “may bring the ball back up to seven metres from the 20m line for the purposes of making a traditional run at the ball, but shall strike the ball on or outside the 20m line but not inside it”.

This effectively means the player taking the shot cannot strike the ball after the 20m line, although he can make a running strike with it from up to seven metres behind the line. They have also clarified that the terms “taken” or “retaken” shall mean the ball being “struck”.

There is one exception, if a player taking a penalty or free puck on the actual 20m line “fails to lift the ball at the first attempt” or “fails to strike it with the hurley, and that action causes the ball to marginally cross inside the 20m line” then “the player, as provided for in this rule, shall be allowed to strike the ball on the ground without delay”.

It has also been decided that players defending a penalty or free puck awarded on the centre point of the 20m line “shall stand on their goal-line and may not move towards the 20m line until the ball has been actually struck”. On that note, it was clarified that “lifting” the ball with the hurley does not constitute “striking the ball”.

The new interpretation of the rule, however, is already being interpreted to favour defenders and goalkeepers.

Meanwhile the GAA was also under coming pressure to address pre-match parade, with Donegal All-Ireland winning captain Michael Murphy suggesting they may be better off omitting it completely.

‘Just a tradition’

“It wouldn’t be too bad, one way or the other,” said Murphy. “Is it needless? It’s just a tradition, and whether you can speak out much against tradition I don’t know.

“I suppose it may add to the whole general spectacle as such. But it’s a funny one, and an individual preference, really. There are so many different things now, before a game now. You go out early, get through your warm-up, which is needed, then there’s the whole thing of the toss, the parade, the national anthem, and maybe the minute’s silence, which tends to be in nearly every game at the moment.

“It’s different with the club, where you play the game straight away, and you get used to that as well. If that’s the case with the county I’d be happy enough with that too.”

The GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) is reviewing video evidence and the referee’s report following the Armagh-Cavan brawl which stemmed from their pre-match parade in Sunday’s Ulster quarter-final, in order to determine what disciplinary measures will be taken – with both county boards facing monetary fines at the very least.

For Murphy the parade may actually add to any pre-match tensions between the teams, when most players would probably prefer to get the game underway.

“Aye, that’d be fair enough, I think you would. I suppose you’re out on the pitch, for 20 or 30 minutes before the game. I’m sure both teams that went out on Sunday were focused on carrying out their plan, and execute the game plan.

“But football and hurling throws up things that you really can’t plan for. It’s how you react as individuals and how you react as a team, and what your principles are.”

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