New Year, new rule. Will the GAA’s latest Hurling rule change kill entertainment but truly punish offenders?
In the last week or so, the hurling review committee, backed by the GAA, have announced another change to the hurling penalty rule. As opposed to three players being deployed on the line to face a free, only the goalkeeper will face penalties, the change will be trialed temporarily and a descison will be made on the matter later on in the year.
The issue of hurling penalties has generated much debate in recent seasons, but came to a head last year when the rule had to be amended mid-season following Waterford’s keeper Stephen O’Keefe making a dangerous charge in an attempt to stop his opposite number Anthony Nash’s shot. Since then, the chances of successfully converting a penalty has been slim to none. Only the likes of Patrick Horgan and TJ Reid were able to use the new rule to their advantage.
So how will this affect the hurling landscape? It has been widely thought that the ‘Nash’ way of taking penalties, lifting the ball, letting it go as far as the 13 meter line, before striking has made it not only impossible, but dangerous to stop such a powerful shot. If the ball were to strike a player in the throat area, it could cause serious damage.
The question is, is the goalkeeper even more vulnerable without two other players by his side? These player’s are not only there to prevent any possible penetration of the goal area, but also offer protection to the net minder, will player welfare be at risk with this rule?
One thing that will not be at risk however, is the entertainment factor. The best free-takers in the country going up against the best shot-stoppers in the country, who wouldn’t pay to see that?
Penalties are supposed to be a punishment to the team that conceded the penalties, and with this new rule, the chances of scoring will be noticeably higher