Kelleher calls for clampdown on helmet grabbers
Published 23/07/2010 | 05:00
INTERFERING with an opponent's helmet is becoming increasingly common in hurling and should be punished by an immediate red card, according to former Dublin manager, Humphrey Kelleher.
"The compulsory use of helmets was introduced as a health and safety issue and now there's a danger that it will be undermined by what is a mean, cowardly, dangerous act. It's ironic that something that's supposed to make hurling safer for players could end up causing serious injury," he said.
Kelleher wants grabbing an opponent's helmet to be upgraded to an immediate red-card offence to send out a clear warning that it won't be tolerated.
"When a helmet is grabbed and tugged, it can be very dangerous. A player's head is jolted while the rest of his body is static.
"That can create a whiplash effect.
"As well as that, you have wire, steel and straps on a helmet so there are clear risks involved if it's interfered with. We can't have a situation where a safety measure was introduced only to have it compromised.
"Players should be aware of the dangers, but there are always those who will do the wrong thing in the heat of the moment.
"When they do, they should be punished and, in the case of interfering with helmets, it's serious enough to warrant a straight red card.
"If the word goes out that messing with a helmet will leave you on the bench, players will react," said Kelleher.
The compulsory use of helmets was extended to senior level this year. Several players who never wore helmets up to then were unhappy with the new rule but have now adjusted to it.