Saturday 18 November 2017

Cunningham blasts Banner over Nash 'jostling plan'

Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash
Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Cork hurling coach Ger Cunningham has called for greater protection for goalkeepers coming upfield to take close-range frees and penalties in future.

Cork netminder Anthony Nash was jostled by a succession of Clare opponents during Sunday's All-Ireland hurling final as he made his way up to take a 56th-minute free that he subsequently scored a goal from.

Cunningham said: "It looked as if it was a bit of a plan to stop him coming up, to jostle him."

It's a rare occurrence for a hurling goalkeeper to take close-range frees and penalties – Davy Fitzgerald was among the pioneers – but Nash has pushed the boundaries out over the last two seasons and Cunningham believes referees will be more aware of it in future games.

"It shouldn't happen. It's been happening in football for a bit, though Stephen Cluxton doesn't get too much of it (jostling).

"It has become more prevalent in football, I suppose, for football goalkeepers to come up the field to take frees," he said.

Happen

"A lot of things happen on the day. It's very hard to pre-empt what's going to happen.

"Were there five penalties or 20-metre frees on Sunday? That's a hell of a lot for a game," said Cunningham.

"You don't normally expect that to happen, so maybe the referees are now forewarned about it and anyone coming up to take a penalty will get the protection he deserves on his way up the field, with a clear run, without having that (jostling)."

Cunningham has also suggested that Nash's counterpart Pat Kelly "contravened a couple of rules" with his advance off the line to block a powerful 20-metre free in the first half and admitted he was disappointed that a retake wasn't ordered.

Meanwhile, the Munster Council have voted to restore the 'seeding' format to their senior football championship. Under this system Cork and Kerry will be kept on either side of the draw, ensuring that there is only a limited prospect of one of the other four counties reaching a provincial decider.

Irish Independent

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