Hurling suffering from sleight of hand
Published 27/07/2016 | 02:30
Here's the question: who decided that the rule on handpassing in hurling need not be implemented?
Something odd is going on because, for some reason, referees are ignoring obvious breaches all the time. In fact, their negligence is increasing. Are they being told to adopt a liberal approach? If so, by whom and why?
Throwing the ball to a colleague has been going on for a long time but is getting progressively more blatant.
It was in evidence again in last Sunday's quarter-finals but the many perpetrators got away with it. But then everyone expected they would because it's the norm.
The rule states that it's an offence to "handpass the ball without it being released and struck with a definite striking action of the hand".
Now quickness of the hand may deceive the eye in some cases but it's doubtful if even half the handpasses involve "a definite striking action".
Players become very frustrated on the rare occasions they are penalised for an illegal handpass, which is understandable, as many similar transfers will have gone unpunished.
Nobody wants to see the flow of a game broken by a call-back for an illegal handpass but it has reached a stage where hurling's integrity is being compromised by having a rule that's being disregarded.
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Don't expect to see any change in the remaining championship games but how long more can the Playing Rules Committee ignore what's going on?
They should ask Central Council to make it clear that from the start of the 2017, "a definite striking action of the hand" means exactly what it says and that throwing the ball will not be tolerated.
Handpassing has grown in the modern era, making it more important than ever to crack down on throws. So why is it not being done?