Tuesday 21 November 2017

Policing of frees in hurling a fine balancing act

Noel Skehan
Noel Skehan
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

"I can't understand why the striker is allowed to run in several yards. Surely a 21-yard free or penalty should be taken from the line, not from several yards closer to goal?

"It can be dangerous allowing a player to run in towards the 14-yard line before striking the ball, but nothing is being done about it."

An interesting remark in light of the GAA's plan – prompted by Anthony Nash's ground-making expertise – to force free-takers outside the 20-metre line when they strike the ball.

However, the comment wasn't made recently, but rather in an interview I did with Kilkenny goalkeeping great Noel Skehan (above) in June 2004.

Free-takers have been getting away with ground theft for years, yet nothing was done until Nash literally took it a step further.

Now, the big question is whether the balance will tilt too much towards the offending team, if the striker has to be outside the 20-metre line when he makes contact with the ball.

In that scenario, perhaps it's time to restrict the defending team to two players on the line.

Irish Independent

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