Distance of shoot-out frees to be reduced
The challenge of converting a kick from 45 metres has prompted the GAA to cut the minimum distance from which frees must be taken in the free-kick competitions now being used so that certain matches are completed 'on the day.'
Up to 12 metres has been shaved off the minimum distance following a review with the kicks now being taken from the centre of the semi-circle which is 33 metres out.
Initially, it was decided that the kicks would be taken from the 45-metre line. But representations from some of those who have experienced the challenge of putting the ball over the bar from that distance, especially at second and third levels, has prompted change.
This year's Bord na Móna O'Byrne Cup semi-final between Meath and Longford was decided by a free-kick competition after 20 minutes of extra-time didn't separate them.
Meath won the shoot-out 2-1, with just under a third of the 10 kicks were converted, shining a spotlight on the accuracy from that distance. Similarly, the range in poor weather conditions was also problematic for schools and colleges, the review determined.
Allianz League play-off games operated under this system while qualifiers, U-20 and Minor (U-17) play-off games and games in provincial club championships and second and third level are also deploying this novel method to find a winner after separate 20-minute and 10-minute periods of extra-time.
The decision was taken chiefly because of the challenge for schools and underage players and the need to have a standard distance across all levels.