Tuesday 17 September 2019

Time for a rule on how long kickers line up frees

Dean Rock of Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Dean Rock of Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

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Shane Walsh had an unusual experience in the final seconds of last Sunday's Galway's IFC semi-final, having been penalised for taking too long over a '45, which he kicked over the bar.

A point would have put Kilkerrin-Clonberne ahead of Claregalway but the referee intervened and the score didn't stand, leaving the tie headed for a replay.

I can't offer an opinion on whether it was a correct decision but then nobody else can either, since there's no specific rule on the amount of time allowed. It's at the referee's discretion whether he thinks the kicker has overdone the preliminaries. It's an area that needs to be regulated as there has been a marked increase over recent years in the period between foul and kick in the scoring area. That's probably down to specialist coaches and the routines they have devised for place-kickers. Anything that helps accuracy is to be welcomed but the time lag should not be at the discretion of referees, which inevitably leads to variations.

Imagine the controversy if Joe McQuillan had ruled out Dean Rock's pointed free late in the All-Ireland final. Rock certainly took his time but got away with it.

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