John Kiely sceptical about ‘complex’ cynical foul rule

Limerick manager also confirmed a number of additions to the country panel

Limerick manager John Kiely celebrates winning the All Ireland Hurling Final last year. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Limerick manager John Kiely celebrates winning the All Ireland Hurling Final last year. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Limerick manager John Kiely has criticised the imminent introduction of experimental disciplinary rule changes, which commence this weekend. He said that he believed the changes demanded too much of referees.

The new rule in hurling provides punishment for specific cynical fouls, depriving an opponent of a goal scoring opportunity within the 20-metre line or its arc. A penalty is awarded against the offending player as well as a yellow card and a spell in the sin bin.

“We are legislating here for a specific situation. I don’t believe that makes good rule-making. Hard law is bad law,” he told a press briefing on Monday evening. “This is a hard rule. I feel sorry for the referees who are going to have to make the decisions with this rule that they’re going to have to make because there are too many factors to be taken into account. That’s my own view. I was reading through the document that was sent out where the rules are explained and the rule is quite a complex rule.

“You have to decide, first of all, where the infringement took place. That’s a real challenge with the speed of hurling to be even in the same half of the field at times if it is a long delivery and a player takes it clean in the air, you know it is very difficult.

“Number two, you have to determine are there other defenders between that player and the goal and then are there other defenders who could have got back to make a tackle and then the nature of that infringement.

“Is it careless use of the hurley? Then we have the pull-down and the trip as well. And what do you do on a wet day when a player might slip and you are determining whether he had slipped or whether he had tripped. That could be a challenge also. I think there are too many variables that have to be decided in a moment.”

A number of instances of cynical play were highlighted during the 2020 championship and there was a strong but far from unanimous view - Limerick opposed - at February’s annual congress that it needed to be addressed.

“I know there was a few incidents of cynicism in last year’s campaign. You could have picked out three or four in hurling but do three or four moments in hurling matches mean we have to go back and bring in such a hard rule. My personal opinion is that we shouldn’t have to. In elite sport there is a certain degree of cynicism.

“Will it end cynicism in our game? I don’t believe it will. There will be some other way found.”

Kiely also announced that there had been additions to the county panel.

“A couple of lads are after joining the group this year. Cathal O’Neill from Crecora, Colin Coughlan from Ballybrown and Tommy Hayes from Doon have joined us, and Barry Murphy from Doon has re-joined us.”

He said that Richie English, who had re-joined the panel by last year’s All-Ireland final, was now fully fit and available but that whereas Mike Casey, who also sustained a cruciate injury before last year’s championship, was making good progress, he wouldn’t be rushed back but the manager was “hopeful” that he would be ready for the championship.

Kiely was vocal last year about the limits placed on county teams’ permitted attendance at matches. Asked about the situation for this season, he wasn’t expecting any immediate change.

“At the moment we are operating off the premise that it will be the exact same as pre-All-Ireland final (there was a dispensation for the final); that’s what we are expecting it to be.

“We might not necessarily agree with it. I think from next Monday 50 can go to Mass so maybe 50 can go to the Gaelic Grounds but listen, we’ll see. We just have to be patient, we are like the cattle at the door of the shed at the moment busting to get to the front and to be the first out on to the pitch.”

He also welcomed the decision to suspend, during the pandemic, abolition of maor foirne, the team officials allowed to enter the field of play, citing medical reasons such as concussion, to which he and his selectors can in such cases be alerted.

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