Saturday 24 February 2018

Damien Fitzhenry opposed to 'one-to-one' penalty

Former Wexford goalkeeper Damien Fitzhenry has voiced his opposition to the proposals for new ‘one-on-one’ penalties struck from 20 metres
Former Wexford goalkeeper Damien Fitzhenry has voiced his opposition to the proposals for new ‘one-on-one’ penalties struck from 20 metres
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Former Wexford goalkeeper Damien Fitzhenry believes the proposed new penalty for hurling is "unfairly" stacked in favour of the penalty-taker.

As Congress prepares to vote on the Hurling 2020 committee's recommendation for 'one-on-one' penalties struck from 20 metres, Fitzhenry, one of the longest-serving goalkeepers of modern times, has voiced his opposition to it.

He feels it is stacked so much in favour of the striker that he suggests those who can't find the top or bottom corners from that distance before a 'keeper can react "shouldn't be hurling!"

Fitzhenry was a prolific penalty-taker himself but feels the situation had become too dangerous in recent years.

"I used to take two or three steps in and then strike but fellas were taking six or seven steps and then hitting the ball with real power," he said. "As a goalkeeper, I'm saying it's unfair. As a penalty-taker, I feel you shouldn't miss."

His own preference is to keep two defenders on the line for a penalty struck before the 20-metre line.

Fitzhenry's contention flies in the face of statistics that the Hurling 2020 committee compiled during the experiments that took place over the course of the provincial pre-season competitions.

From 36 games only two penalties were scored under the 'one-on-one' format from nine awarded. Ironically, Limerick forward David Reidy scored two penalties against Waterford in the opening round of the league last week under the format clarified by Central Council last June where no advance past the 20-metre line could be made.

Big hurling counties like Tipperary, Cork, Clare, Waterford, Dublin, Galway and Wexford are all in favour of the proposed change.

So far just three counties, Limerick, Westmeath and Carlow, have mandated their Congress delegates to vote against it.

Irish Independent

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