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Central Council to set hurling review plans in motion

Published 19/03/2014 | 02:30

GAA president Liam O'Neill: 'People want a debate on hurling'
GAA president Liam O'Neill: 'People want a debate on hurling'

The first concrete moves towards putting together a review of hurling will be taken at Saturday's Central Council meeting.

The review was announced by GAA president Liam O'Neill at last month's launch of the Allianz Hurling League.

It appears to have been prompted by the significant backing Kilkenny manager Brian Cody gave to a proposal by former Cats icon Eddie Keher to dispense with the use of cards in hurling and return to the old system of booking players and sending them off.

Keher made his proposal in a two-page document submitted to Central Council before Christmas. The shape of the review is expected to be decided upon at Saturday's meeting.

It is understood, however, that the preferred option is something along the lines of the Football Review Committee, the body which was the architect of the black card and the advantage rule which have revolutionised Gaelic football.

At last month's launch, which took place the day after Cody's comments, O'Neill outlined the reasons behind the review. "We are going to accept the challenge," he said. "People want a debate on hurling. It has come from Kilkenny, which is great, because Kilkenny have been to the fore in hurling over the last number of years."

The review is expected to focus on the game's disciplinary rules and how it is played rather than the competition or coaching structures, which were incorporated into the football review headed by Eugene McGee.

Saturday's meeting will also discuss the taking of penalties and 20-metre frees, which have been a contentious issue since Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash's prolific 2013, when he scored two goals from 20-metre frees in the All-Ireland final and replay with Clare.

Nash has perfected the art of lifting the ball so that the added 'hang time' allows him to strike from as close as 13 metres, giving defenders on the line little chance of stopping it. Some, including Clare's Davy Fitzgerald, have deemed this a safety risk.

A motion from the playing rules committee, which includes former Cork goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack and Cody, calling for frees and penalties to be struck from on or before the 20-metre line, was withdrawn on the eve of Congress last month over fears that it was going to fail. Instead it has been left over to Central Council this weekend for discussion.

Central Council will also hear requests for the Congress decision taken last month to prevent U-16s from playing minor to be deferred until January 2015.

Irish Independent

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