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'Free' time demands greater clarity

THE decision by referee Michael Collins (pictured) to cancel a scoreable Mayo free in last Sunday's Connacht football final because he adjudged that Cillian O'Connor took too long with his pre-kick routine raises an interesting point.

Since there's no specific time allowed for a free, it's at the referee's discretion to cancel it if he feels the kicker is delaying too long.

So, what's a reasonable length of time? And since some goalkeepers are now entering the opposition half to kick frees and '45s', does their travelling time count?

As it happened, Mayo won last Sunday, but they would have felt very aggrieved if they had lost by a point when they would almost certainly have had a score if O'Connor was allowed to take the kick.

It's an area which calls for greater clarity and consistency, especially since the long-distance goalkeepers have joined in the kicking duties.

Irish Independent