Friday 20 April 2018

'Once the ball is touched by a free-taker I will start my run' - Pa Kelly

'Keeper Kelly insists rushing Cork's Nash was legal in call for clarification on rules

Clare 'keeper Pa Kelly has added fuel to the fire over debate on taking penalties
Clare 'keeper Pa Kelly has added fuel to the fire over debate on taking penalties
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Clare goalkeeper Pa Kelly has blurred the lines over the regulations for taking a free by insisting ahead of Saturday evening's All-Ireland SHC final replay that he is fully entitled to rush off his line in an effort to stop the shot.

Kelly advanced on his Cork counterpart Anthony Nash for the first 20-metre free in the drawn game and blocked it with his body but for a subsequent Cork free from a similar distance, which Nash scored, Kelly was warned by referee Brian Gavin not to come off his line.

Kelly has argued that once a player makes the first connection with the ball to lift it, the free has effectively been taken and opponents are entitled to move as close as they like after that.

"I've a strong opinion on that. In my view, once the player touches the ball, the goalie should be allowed attack the ball," he said.

"It's in play. I took it off the body the last day. I'll put it to you this way, you can take a free by pulling on the ball on the ground. It's one strike of the ball. It's one touch.

"I started my run on the line. I came out. Would I do it again the next day? Who knows?" he said.

Kelly accepts the rules debar him and his colleagues from rushing a penalty but believes that, as the rules stand, a free is different and it needs clarity.

"It's a grey area, to be honest with you. Maybe the two of us were in the wrong. He has to be 20 metres away, but if you're 20 metres away from a man hitting a ball on the 13-yard line, it just doesn't make sense.

"So I think that rule has to be altered. There has been so much talk of it, something will have to be done. I know you can't encroach from a penalty. But from a 21... I don't know why he said it to me the second time. Maybe Anthony Nash had a word with him. He wasn't too happy that I came off my line.

"It happened. It's history now. And hopefully the referee won't give them any more handy 21-yard frees."

Kelly said he didn't feel anything from the impact of Nash's first-half piledriver off his body and likened his power to that of Joe Canning.

"You don't feel it, the adrenalin is just running. You don't feel these things,"he said. "With (Nash), a lot of it is luck. It's more hope that the ball is going to hit off you because he has such a ferocious shot. Himself and Canning are on the same lines."

Kelly said it is untrue to suggest that his advance on Nash was advised by his manager Davy Fitzgerald.


"The one that hit off me, it wasn't pre-meditated. I think somebody mentioned in the media that Fitzy would have an influence on me doing it. That was absolute rubbish. It wasn't pre-planned. It was just something that happened on the day."

Kelly revealed that he had studied Nash's style from that distance beforehand and was aware of what would happen.

"The first thing is, you have to set up your two defenders and make sure they're in the right positions. You're probably doing a bit of trash talk or whatever.

"You're trying to read where he's going to hit it. Read his pick-up. There's an element of studying him as well; looking at tapes and seeing where he hits the ball."

Irish Independent

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