Limerick and Tipperary are the only Munster counties who have publicly confirmed they will join Cork in voting against the ‘Anthony Nash motion’ in Congress tomorrow.
Clare, Kerry and Waterford won’t decide what way they are voting until their delegates meet in Croke Park this evening.
Motion 58 states “to advance the ball deliberately from the place at which a free puck, penalty puck or sideline puck is to be struck from” is an offence punishable by the cancellation of the placed ball followed by a throw-in from where the foul occurred.
Were all the Munster counties to vote en bloc against the playing rules committee’s motion, they would make 55 votes, but over one-third of the Congress vote — a minimum of approximately 113 votes — is required to defeat it.
However, as things stand, Cork, Tipperary and Limerick’s estimated combined vote of 30 represents just less than 10% of the estimated total vote.
The behaviour of the three other counties may be viewed suspiciously by Cork who have described the motion, clearly aimed at Nash after his successful goal attempts from 20m frees in last year’s All-Ireland finals, as nonsensical.
While Clare and Waterford have refused to show their hands, there are indications some of their delegates are in favour of the motion.
Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald has voiced his support for it, even though he regularly broke the 20m line in taking frees before helmets were mandatory. However, his argument is the power of Nash’s shot presents a safety risk to those defending on the goal-line.
Tipperary decided on Wednesday evening to give authority to their Congress delegates to vote on the proposal, while Kerry will canvassfurther opinion in Dublin this evening and tomorrow morning.
Having discussed motions on Wednesday night, Limerick believe the change to the rule would discourage attacking play and possibly lead to more cynical fouling by the defending team close to their goal.
County chairman Oliver Mann said free and penalty takers have been “stealing” yards for generations. He also believes it is too simplistic a solution to ensure the ball to be struck before the 20m line.
“What we feel is this didn’t just arise in 2013. This is a practice that has been going on for some time. It’s an art that has been well perfected by some players, perfected better by some more than others.
“You can’t look at it in isolation. If you were to say you can’t come inside the 21-yard line, you would then have to look at the amount of people allowed on the goal-line.
“A penalty is generally conceded so as to ensure a goal isn’t conceded. Therefore, you should have more than a 50-50 chance of scoring it.
“What’s proposed in the alteration to the rule will mean your chances of scoring are going to be reduced, so it makes sense to be a little bit more, shall we say, professional in your defending.”
Mann agrees with his fellow chairman in Cork, Bob Ryan, that the ‘Nash motion’ should be considered as part of the forthcoming hurling forum as proposed by GAA president Liam O’Neill.
“You have look at the facts and how some people balance the ball on their hurley in taking frees and that’s something that has to be dealt with as well.
“Again, it’s not something that should be considered in isolation. An overall review of free-taking is perhaps required.”
Meanwhile, Mann revealed Limerick are also standing alongside Cork in favour of match bans being introduced at club level.
“It makes sense, particularly in the latter stages of the year when competitions are getting more and more serious.
“A player could miss three championship games with a time ban later in the year whereas at the start of the year he might only miss a league game. The same time bans at different times of the season bear no relation to one another.”
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