Morgan calls for clock stop for kickers

Morgan calls for clock stop for kickers
11 August 2019; Niall Morgan of Tyrone gets involved with David Clifford of Kerry during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kerry and Tyrone at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan has called for a rule change after the treatment he received while making his way up the pitch to take a 45 in their All-Ireland semi-final loss to Kerry on Sunday.

In the 59th minute Morgan, having already scored one in the first half, came up the field to take a 45 but he was repeatedly shoved in the chest by Kerry substitute Tommy Walsh, who was booked for his actions.

Morgan believes there is a simple way around the issue; by stopping the clock for free-kicks, as happens in rugby.

“To be honest, it has happened plenty of times,” he said. “I think it is a case that they should just stop the clock for a free kick and it would leave it that nobody is trying to slow anybody down.

"You stop the clock for a free kick and it is a bit like rugby and a penalty — you stop the clock and the kicker can take as long as he wants.”

He continued:

They love changing all these rules, how about one that helps free-takers? A lot of the time, I come up and takes frees because the players are tired — it’s not that we don’t have a forward that can’t take a free-kick, sometimes they have done about 200 metres worth of sprints and they are not ready to take a free-kick.

“So if you give them 20 seconds or whatever to recover, it might benefit the game.”

Morgan has now played seven seasons for Tyrone, yielding Ulster titles in 2016 and 2017, but there appears to be a glass ceiling as to what they can achieve. Their record of not having beaten Mayo, Dublin, or Kerry since 2008 in Championship football is held up as evidence they are incapable of winning an All-Ireland.

However, Morgan dismisses such talk, saying: “If I didn’t think I would finish with an All-Ireland medal, I would be gone. I wouldn’t be playing.

“Whenever I started on the panel in 2013, I was playing soccer, was playing in the Irish League and I was young, first-choice ‘keeper and I probably could have pushed myself on in the Irish League.

"I don’t think I would have ever got across the water but whenever I spoke to Mickey (Harte), he laid out the plans and if I would have thought I wouldn’t have won an All-Ireland, I would have said ‘no’ and moved on.”

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He added: “Every year, it starts from scratch and your goal is to reach an All-Ireland final. Last year it was really disappointing to lose.

“Since I was born, I can’t remember the ’95 final, I was only four years old. So all through ’03, ’05 and ’08 you were sitting in the crowd and Tyrone were winning All-Irelands, that’s just the way it was.

“We finally got back to one last year and this year it would have been great to get back to one, to avenge last year’s defeat. But that’s the way it goes.”

Tyrone faced Dublin in last year’s final and a brilliant surge from the Metropolitans after the first 20 minutes put them in a commanding position. However, he believes Kerry have the tools to mount a credible challenge on September 1 and stop Dublin becoming the first team to achieve five consecutive All-Ireland football titles.

“They will have the same attitude we would have had. They will not be going up to Croke Park to get beaten, or thinking they could give Dublin a game. They will be coming thinking: ‘We are going to win this.’ And all the best to them. If they move the ball quickly and don’t give Dublin a chance to settle, why not?”

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