News Off the Ball

Thursday 18 September 2014

Pundits need to alter focus and stop pops at Cavanagh

Colm Parkinson

Published 18/06/2014 | 02:30

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Sean Cavanagh, Tyrone, in action against Dick Clerkin, Monaghan
Sean Cavanagh, Tyrone, in action against Dick Clerkin, Monaghan

After a really intense, action-packed and enjoyable Ulster quarter-final between Tyrone and Monaghan Joe Brolly and Pat Spillane decided to dedicate a portion of their post-match analysis to having another pop at Sean Cavanagh.

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Why? Because Sean won a free or two as his team were desperately trying to chase the game.

Now there are two types of frees he won that I'd like to clear up.

If Cavanagh gets a yard on his marker, cuts across him and is tripped and taken down it IS a free. Was he looking for it, YES. Did the defender mean to foul him, probably not. Does it mean it's not a free? NO.

Another accusation from the lads was that he pulls his opponent's arm trying to con the referee into awarding him a free. The question I'd ask is what was the defender's arm doing in there? There is no tackle I'm aware of in the GAA that requires a defender to put his arm across a forward's stomach, chest or over his shoulder.

On occasions like this, and I've done it many times, you lock the defender's arm under yours and go to ground dragging him down with you. This is not conning anyone, it's simply drawing attention to the fact you're being fouled.

If a defender is tackling correctly and within the rules then it's not usually possible to get hold of their arm.

I'm a big fan of Sean Cavanagh. He's a guy who consistently leads his team by scoring important scores when the chips are down.

So, my message to Pat and Joe is to analyse the actual playing side of the game and stop painting Cavanagh, arguably the player of his generation, in such a derogatory light.

Irish Independent

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