Saturday 17 February 2018

Hurling has to introduce advantage rule – Gavin

Damian Lawlor

LEADING referee Brian Gavin has called on the GAA to introduce the five-second advantage into hurling ahead of next year's league and championships.

The advantage rule has been adapted for football competitions and will come into effect on a trial basis from January 1, but Gavin, who took charge of this year's drawn All-Ireland final, says the same directive is essential for hurling.

"It simply has to come in," he told the Sunday Independent. "It's the one rule that the hurling referees are talking about that we don't have; it's the one rule we need to have.

"We would be very happy with the direction that hurling is going; there were a few things we might have done differently in this year's championships but by and large it was a fantastic summer for the game.

"We need to drive it on, though. The advantage rule was something we were trying to apply anyway but we need to have it in and made official. It would be a huge help to referees, particularly because of the pace that hurling has gone to."

The Football Review Committee (FRC) recommended this new advantage rule which features a five-second delay before the referee makes a call. At that stage, the official will have gleaned whether the fouled player has benefited, or lost, from the incident.

The proposal was passed on a 93 per cent to seven per cent vote at Congress last March. Gavin, however, cannot understand why the same rule did not come into play for hurling.

Eugene McGee's FRC had no authorisation to make any recommendations for hurling, so their proposals – including the black card – apply to football only.

"That's fair enough and generally speaking we would be happy with the rules we have," Gavin added. "But this five-second rule is one that has to be looked at again. We'd like some intervention to see can we get it in for next year. If not, I'll be submitting a motion to Congress through my own club Clara looking for it to be brought in.

"With the speed of which hurling is played at this rule is probably even more crucial. I know myself I would have made a different call when I judged David McInerney to have over-carried coming out of defence against Cork in the final. Had I a little more time I would have blown for a chop down on him and awarded a free-out. In the heat of the moment we need every little help we can get and this is one rule that would definitely assist us.

"You can take Cyril Donnellan's disallowed goal in last year's replayed Galway-Kilkenny final as another example," Gavin added. "He scored a goal despite being fouled but the ref had no choice but to blow up and award the free in. Again, the advantage rule would make things official. We could let it run for a few seconds and then make the call."

Donnellan's disallowed goal came at a crucial juncture early in the second half with his side trailing by five points. Instead, a goal became one point as Joe Canning pointed the free they were awarded. There was no gain for the Connacht men whatsoever.

Congress ruled that there would be no change to hurling rules for next year, but Gavin wants the GAA to look at it again.

"We're trying to rule out as many grey areas as possible," he said. "This has to come in sooner than later."

Sunday Independent

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