Given boosts Donegal with training-ground cameo
FORMER Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given attended Donegal football training in Convoy last night.
The Donegal native, who is now assistant manager at Aston Villa, had indicated that he would hook up with Jim McGuinness' team some time this week while he was home on holidays.
It finally happened last night, when he arrived in his tracksuit, mingled with the players and took a turn in goal. Given said beforehand that it would be just a case of visiting and seeing if there was anything he could help with.
Elsewhere, Croke Park officials have clarified that a sideline ball has the same status as a free, with all the residual implications that has for players fouling off-the-ball while it is being taken. Referees sought clarification on the matter after top whistler David Coldrick gave a free in-field for an off-the-ball foul on Sean Cavanagh before Tyrone had taken a line-ball in the dying minutes of their drawn Ulster SFC with Down.
Many felt that frees could not be awarded in that situation because the ball was technically out of play until the side-line ball was taken.
However, when the championship panel of referees was called on to clarify some recent decisions, they were told that Coldrick was correct and that they should treat a side-line ball similarly in the future. "The wording of Rule 2.9 specifies that a free-kick from the hand is awarded for a ball played over the sideline," the GAA's national match officials manager Pat Doherty told the Irish Independent.
"A player is never given impunity to hold or foul their man while a free is being taken in-field.
"In the case of sideline balls, it would be completely illogical to ignore such fouls, so the same rule applies and that is what referees have been told."
In the same game a '45' was brought forward after a subsequent off-the-ball foul and Doherty clarified that the very same principle applies – any off-the-ball fouls that occur before a free (in this case a '45') is kicked will result in another free being given from the point where they occur.