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Reid urges Croke Park to bin one-on-one penalty proposal

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TJ Reid of Ballyhale Shamrocks with his AIB Leinster club hurler of the year award for 2014 at the presentation ceremony

TJ Reid of Ballyhale Shamrocks with his AIB Leinster club hurler of the year award for 2014 at the presentation ceremony

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TJ Reid of Ballyhale Shamrocks with his AIB Leinster club hurler of the year award for 2014 at the presentation ceremony

TJ Reid has voiced his opposition to the proposed 'one-on-one' penalty in hurling which is currently being trialled in provincial pre-season competitions and is expected to go before Congress as a rule change next month.

Reid, Kilkenny's penalty-taker last season after taking over responsibility from Henry Shefflin, admitted yesterday he would prefer if the distance was moved in to 18 metres instead of the current 20 metres with three defenders still on the line.

Hurling's 2020 committee have proposed the change after so much confusion following Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash's mastery of the effective high lift of the ball that gained him extra distance, routinely allowing him to despatch shots from as close as 13 metres.

Reid revealed yesterday that scooping the ball high was a style he had used with penalties from a young age, but with Shefflin taking penalties for club and county he didn't get much opportunity to showcase it.

Natural

"I never took penalties (for the seniors) before because Henry was always there. But when I was taking them for the minors and U-21s, that's the way I always took them; it came natural to me," he explained.

"Once I saw Nash doing it and once I was on the frees I got the opportunity to do it. It was a few challenge games against Carlow IT where I started doing it and that's where James McGarry and Brian Cody saw me taking penalties. So after that they kept me on them.

"The rule is changed but if I was making a change I probably just would have brought it back to the normal way like when DJ Carey used to lift and strike, bring it in two yards and then strike with the three (on the line).

"A penalty is very exciting for the spectators. It is exciting to see Anthony Nash going up to take a penalty having three in goal but I just think they should have gone back to the normal rule.

"On the 21, lift it there, go in two yards and strike. It would have made more sense. It'd be 50-50 then."

Reid believes the advantage now is very much stacked in favour of the attacking team and will leave it very difficult for goalkeepers.

"I think if a forward hits it bang on the goalie has no chance unless the ball hits off him," he said.

"It'll be like soccer now - the goalie is going to have to pick his spot before you hit it. When you strike a ball now it's going probably 100 miles an hour so if you're standing in the middle and it goes into the bottom corner, you haven't a chance.

"The penalty is to the forward's advantage now. The rule last year was probably in the backs' favour because it was difficult to score. Only Joe Canning and Patrick Horgan scored goals last year (after the rules interpretation in June by Central Council), which is very low."

Reid's views contrast to those of former Cork goalkeeper and current Dublin manager Ger Cunningham, who watched his UCC goalkeeper David O'Gorman save a 'one-on-one' penalty from Kerry's Shane Nolan in the first half of their Waterford Crystal tournament on Sunday, a moment Cunningham felt was a game-changer.

"It is an advantage for a forward to have a 'one on one' with a keeper. I think it's a good rule. I definitely think it was worth trialling," said Cunningham.

Reid admitted there was sadness at the departure of so many Kilkenny stalwarts in the months after the All-Ireland final win over Tipperary.

He admitted he got accustomed to opening up Kilkenny's WhatsApp in the morning and reading the latest retirement note with a heavy heart.

"We're very close on WhatsApp, between having the craic on it, meeting to go training and meeting to go to the gym. Every morning you were waking up at half seven and seeing a big article written from them there," he said.

"The first one to go was Tommy (Walsh) and that was grand, you get your head around that. Then you see Brian Hogan, 'Taggy' (Aidan Fogarty) and David Herity going and you're just scratching your head saying, 'I hope there's not any more lads going!'

"We keep very close and to see the boys writing up saying, 'thanks very much for the last 10 years, you've been great', you'd have a tear in your eye."

Irish Independent