Anthony Nash disappointed penalty trial not extended

Cork’s new captain believes the real problem is with decisive 21-yard frees

Cork goalkeeper and captain Anthony Nash and Brendan Maher, the Tipperary captain, pose with the Allianz Hurling League trophy at St Anne’s Park, Dublin. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Cork goalkeeper and captain Anthony Nash and Brendan Maher, the Tipperary captain, pose with the Allianz Hurling League trophy at St Anne’s Park, Dublin. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

 

Cork captain Anthony Nash has expressed disappointment that the recent penalty trial in hurling won’t extend into the league. The twice decorated All Star goalkeeper was speaking at yesterday’s launch of the Allianz Hurling League at Croke Park.

Nash’s controversial penalty technique in the 2013 season – lifting the ball several metres forward before striking – prompted a reinterpretation of the rule by Central Council last year, insisting that penalties be struck from the 20-metre line.

In the meantime Liam Sheedy’s Hurling 2020 committee proposed that penalties be taken from the 20-metre line but with only the goalkeeper on the line. That idea was trialled in this year’s pre-season competitions but won’t apply in the coming league campaign, as the “one-on-one” idea goes to the GAA’s annual congress later this month.

“I think they should have prolonged it,” said Nash of the recent trial. “Sure how many were given, really? We didn’t face one with Cork in the Waterford Crystal. Look, if it’s a penalty then fair enough unless it takes a great save from a ’keeper. As I said earlier, the problem is what happens when you have a 21-yard free (as opposed to a penalty) with the last puck of the game and you’re two points down and you’ve six or seven lads on the line? The excitement is gone.

“I still think the 18-yard line (against three men on the goal-line) is a good idea because if you look at what most fellas are doing, if any of them are hitting a ball from 18 yards hard it’s a goal so it’s still benefitting the team (awarded the penalty). That’s what I would have liked.

Expressed concern

He also expressed concern that if the rule change fails at congress, last year’s restrictive interpretation will still apply in the championship and further proposals will have to be brought forward for 2016.

“If they go back to it in the championship we’re going to be back discussing it again next year so they better come up with a solution sooner rather than later.”

Under last year’s interpretation the number of penalties hit into the net in the championship was less than 25 per cent. After the first two were converted by Cork’s Patrick Horgan and Galway’s Joe Canning, none of the remaining seven resulted in a goal.

Nash also reiterated his unhappiness at the criticism the team underwent having won under manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy a first Munster title in eight years but having followed that up by crashing to defeat against Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final, citing un-named former players.

“A few lads that we would have played with came out with comments I was disappointed with. Because I would have togged out beside them in the dressing room, and it’s easy to criticise. I hope when I retire that I won’t criticise players that have played.

“Look, Jimmy is fantastic and we wouldn’t be where we are only for him. We’ve made three All-Ireland semi-finals, one All-Ireland final in the last three years so obviously the talent is there. Have we been successful underage? No we haven’t. Would be like to be more successful? Of course we would. But have we a strong enough panel to a: challenge for a league, and b: challenge for an All-Ireland? Yes. So something has to be working down there.

A Liability

Aidan Walsh

Looking back at last year Nash disagreed that winning the Munster title has become a liability.

“No, I don’t think that winning the Munster championship is a negative. They might have a look at the five-week window (between provincial final and All-Ireland semi-final) . . . but is it the reason we lost to Tipperary only? I wouldn’t say so.

“Could you prepare better? Maybe so. If they shortened it maybe we would have had an advantage but then the other advantage of winning Munster is you’ve one less chance of getting knocked out. There’s no perfect solution.”

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