Monday 23 October 2017

'65' rule not fit for modern-day purpose

Pa Bourke of Thurles Sarsfields strikes a last minute '65' over the bar. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Pa Bourke of Thurles Sarsfields strikes a last minute '65' over the bar. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

When Ballygunner conceded a '65' against Thurles Sarsfields in the last minute of the Munster club clash last Sunday, they probably feared the worst.

Pointing '65s' is so routine for Pa Bourke and other top marksmen that it's more of a surprise when they aren't scored. Bourke duly hit the target for what was the winning point.

He would probably have scored from 30/40 metres further out, something which is quite common off frees nowadays. So here's the question - is the punishment for conceding a '65' in hurling and a '45' in football too severe? Those rules have been in operation ('70' and '50' before the metric age) for well over 100 years, having been introduced at a time when the football and sliotar were much heavier. Modern-day hurlers hit the ball more than 65 metres with a mere flick of the wrists, while 45 metres is very comfortably within the range of good football place-kickers.

Surely, it's time to re-examine the '45' and '65' rule. A player can make a spectacular block, which is top-class skill, but if the ball goes over his endline, he is penalised by handing the opposition a disproportionately high chance of a score.

By all means, retain the advantage for the attackers but not to the degree which currently exists thanks to lighter balls, better boots/hurleys and specialist training. A suggestion - hit '65s' off the ground and amend '45' to '50' - or maybe even '55' in football.

Irish Independent

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