Cork GAA chairman Bob Ryan has launched a withering attack on the “Anthony Nash motion”, questioning whether the GAA want to turn hurling into golf.
A motion from the playing rules committee will be voted on at Saturday’s Congress making it illegal for a player to advance the ball deliberately passed the position where a free, penalty or sideline is to be struck from.
Ryan believes Cork goalkeeper Nash has been singled out for his success in converting two close-range frees in last year’s All-Ireland finals.
Cork will strenuously oppose the motion in Croke Park and are urging counties to do likewise. “I would hope hurling people especially would see how nonsensical this motion is,” said Ryan. “This one possible rule change would alter more than just how 20-metre frees and penalties are taken and I don’t think it would be advantageous for the game. In hurling you must strike the ball using a forward motion. So if you win a 65 would it now become a 70? Maybe they want to change it to golf, I don’t know. Maybe they now want people teeing up the ball!”
Ryan was taken aback by how the GAA have been so quick to react in an attempt to clearly neutralise Nash’s style. “It is disappointing. I’m absolutely amazed that this attempt to change the rule is being made in view of the fact that 2013, by everybody’s agreement, was the best year in the history of hurling. One of the highlights was Anthony Nash going up to take his frees. Now, for some strange reason, an attempt is being made to change. It defies logic.”
At the Cork board’s monthly meeting last week, Ryan suggested the rule change be debated at the hurling forum spoken of by GAA President Liam O’Neill.
He said he has had no feedback from Croke Park on the idea. “I don’t know what their intentions are. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” he said about the motion. “I think the thing to do now rather than go down the road of tinkering with hurling on a willy-nilly basis is to talk in the proper forum mentioned by the president and whatever needs to be rectified, do it, and then leave the game alone.”
At the weekend, Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald stressed the importance for the motion to pass on the grounds of safety for players on the goal-line.
Former Cork defender Diarmuid O’Sullivan last week described the motion as “farcical”. Speaking last month, ex-Wexford netminder Damien Fitzhenry felt it discriminated against Nash.
Prior to news of the playing rules committee discussing the rule change, former Clare goalkeeper Seamus Durack told this newspaper Nash’s style had to be stamped out.
He said: “I’m not getting at Anthony who’s a wonderful goalkeeper, but it’s not right being allowed to throw the ball seven yards in front of you. It’s a pure joke and must be stopped.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved