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Legendary boss Griffin backs measures to deal with hurling's growing cynicism

 

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Liam Griffin. Photo: Sportsfile

Liam Griffin. Photo: Sportsfile

Liam Griffin. Photo: Sportsfile

Former All-Ireland-winning Wexford manager Liam Griffin has said it's time for hurling to face up to the "aberrations" that have crept into the game and are now compromising its fairness and integrity.

The GAA's Central Council has cleared the way for motions from its Standing Committee on Playing Rules to be put to Congress later this month that would see a penalty awarded for a foul that has denied a team a clear goalscoring opportunity and a potential yellow card and subsequent 10-minute sin bin being applied if the infraction involves a trip, a pull-down or careless use of the hurl.

Griffin feels that it's starting to reap dividends to foul more in hurling and that's the price for the 'let it flow' calls at almost any cost that have been prevalent from within the game for years now.

He is one of a growing number of voices in hurling who now feel the time has come to take remedial action and that the motions should be supported.

Last year, Congress flatly rejected the idea of a black card to align with football but the number of cynical fouls in the game were quite apparent in the abbreviated 2020 championship, bringing this issue to the fore again.

"We have all the time said 'let it flow', he acknowledged. "And I was one for letting it flow as well. But not to the point where the game becomes an aberration that it pays to design game-plans that has fouling as part of the play."

Griffin has identified cynical play, the development of rucks that invite multiple fouls and what he calls 'mauling' or use of the spare hand as endemic in the game, even at underage level now.

And he has advocated stronger enforcement of rules on rucks and 'mauling' by referees because of the impact it is having on the game, suggesting referees are not there to "entertain".

"With these three issues, I can't see goodness. They leave it wide open for people to design game-plans where fouling pays," he said.

"Fouling cannot pay in any sport under the sun. It is supposed to be about fair play. You wouldn't watch a man cheating at darts, chess or golf. You'd be horrified if you saw it. Why shouldn't you be horrified when you see things happening in hurling that rewards foul play?"

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