Council confirms penalty shootouts for Ulster semi-finals
There has been opposition from winners and losers alike towards penalty shootouts
Monaghan’s Vinny Corey has said he wouldn’t favour the ‘offensive mark’ rule which will be in place from January. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Despite opposition from winners and losers alike towards penalty shootouts, the Ulster Council has insisted that “finish on the day protocols” will apply in the provincial semi-finals.
On Saturday evening, Tyrone’s Rock lost a penalty shootout to Donegal champions Buncrana after extra time in their Ulster Junior semi-final.
The same applied the following day in Enniskillen when Fermanagh’s Derrygonnelly Harps ended up knocking out Trillick of Tyrone when Lee Brennan’s penalty came back off the post.
Public Relations Officer for the Ulster Council, Declan Woods, stated: “My understanding is this was the recommended directive coming out of congress this year. That ‘finish on the day’ would come in and we would move away from free-kicks.”
Free-kicks were in the limelight recently when Antrim county board chairman, Ciarán McCavana, called a halt to a free-kick competition after Lámh Dhearg and Portglenone had drawn for a second time, thereby granting a third game.
What was not publicised at the time was how the losers would have had grounds for an appeal as free-kicks had been scrubbed from the rule book, replaced by penalties. The method is in place in other provinces and counties, as Woods explained.
“Meath had shootouts, there were some instances of penalties in the Meath championship I can remember. Overall, I am not sure it was adapted everywhere.
“Clearly, Donegal didn’t put it into their bylaws because they weren’t in a position to implement it. So it was at the discretion of the two clubs [Naomh Conaill and Gaoth Dobhair in the Donegal final] and Naomh Conaill wouldn’t agree, Gaoth Dobhair would agree to it, so they had to keep going on with another replay.”
The method will be “absolutely” in place for the semi-finals, said Woods, but finals will go to a replay if required.
The Ulster Council carried a page in their matchday programmes for the weekend explaining the rules of the shootouts.
Asked why there was a need to host penalty-kick shootouts, Woods continued, “This was a recommendation to try to improve the flow of fixtures. There are still a lot of games going on, under-20 competitions going on in counties, leagues to be finished.
“Ordinarily, the teams still left in the Ulster club [championships] could be holding up other teams in their domestic leagues. And it is not fair. If there was a means to streamline it, from the perspective if it shortens the calendar for players and clubs, I have no issue with it.”
Meanwhile, Clontibret and Monaghan player Vinny Corey has voiced his opposition to the “offensive mark” rule that will be in place from the start of January competitions.
The new rule, that gives a player catching a ball delivered into the 45m mark that travels at least 20 metres a free shot at goal is sure to be the subject of much controversy and veteran Corey is not convinced it is a change for the better.
“It’s hard to say. It’s going to be hard for referees to police for a start,” stated Corey.
“It might slow the game down and it might make the game about free-kicks. If a boy catches it, you might just stop and it might stop those intricate goals you might get when the man is coming off the shoulder. Those goals might dry up. Who knows?
“I probably wouldn’t favour it. A free-taker would. You can just stop and kick it. It’s the same for [team-mate] Conor McManus playing the International Rules. He excels at that. But, overall for the game, I’m not sold on it to be honest. There are more stoppages.”
Corey has not ruled out a return to Monaghan colours in 2020, revealing that he had been in contact with returning manager, Séamus McEnaney.