News Sinead Kissane

Friday 19 September 2014

Nothing splits opinion like shoulder-to-shoulder tackles

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

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Peter Harte, Tyrone, and Tom Cunniffe, Mayo, clash shoulder to shoulder in the early stages of last year's All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final between Mayo and Tyrone. Harte subsequently left the field following this incident. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Peter Harte, Tyrone, and Tom Cunniffe, Mayo, clash shoulder to shoulder in the early stages of last year's All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final between Mayo and Tyrone. Harte subsequently left the field following this incident. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

A crunching shoulder-to-shoulder tackle still whips up controversy over the exact legality of it.

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So we're clear, the rule book states that provided the player has at least one foot on the ground, a player may make a shoulder-to-shoulder charge on an opponent: (a) who is in possession of the ball, or (b) who is playing the ball other than when kicking it, or (c) when both players are moving in the direction of the ball to play it.

No one wants to see a player forced off like what happened to Peter Harte after Tom Cunniffe's perfectly-timed shoulder in last year's semi-final.

Mayo's Colm Boyle conceded a free for his shoulder on Galway's Damien Comer in the Connacht SFC final.

Like all rules there are various opinions. Through the microphone on RTE's coverage one of the Mayo back-room staff could be heard saying: "It's a great shoulder Boyler. Great technique."

Irish Independent

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