GAA needs to ensure safety on penalty rule

The rules of hurling state that a penalty shall be taken from the 20-metre line.

Tossing the sliothar forward by several metres can result in a player striking it with full force close to the 13-metre line. That gives an unfair advantage to the attacking team. It looks more like playing the man instead of the ball.

Even without any malice aforethought, this poses a serious danger for the three defenders lining the goal, from any medical point of view. A forceful pull can propel the ball at 150km per hour.

Hurling is supremely skillful. It should never become mindlessly brutal. A win at all costs attitude has no place in this magnificent game. Team managers should not condone irresponsible aggression.

The intention of the rule is that penalties should be struck on the 20-metre line. The wording needs clarification. Simply change the vague word “taken” to the more explicit word “struck”. It’s that simple. For too long we have stood idly by and allowed players to play fast and loose with the rules.

The GAA have a duty of care to ensure the physical safety and mental well-being of their players at all levels. The players are the backbone of the organisation. Without them, the GAA would be nothing.

Kicking the can (or pucking the ball) down the road in the hope that nothing bad will ever happen is a programme for a disaster. Health and safety must take priority. Then everyone can enjoy a good, clean game.

Michael Mernagh



Co Cork

More in this section