Pat McEnaney is against the introduction of the black card in hurling but does see a use in having two referees.
“I don’t believe we have a deliberate fouling problem in hurling,” said McEnaney at Saturday’s talk in the IT Tralee, primarily on the new football rules. “I would prefer to see the five-second advantage rule brought in to hurling but we also need to sort out the free-taking issue.”
That penalty issue has almost become known as the ‘Anthony Nash rule’ given its direct link to the Cork goalkeeper’s style of taking the shot. “In hurling we are looking at a rule change in relation to free-taking. We want the ball to be struck before the 20-metre line, so if you step over that line, whistle and it’s a free puck the other way,” said McEnaney.
“In the consultations I was in favour of having the ball struck before that line and only having the goalkeeper on the line. Donal Óg (Cusack) also favoured this. But it didn’t wash. At the moment we are legitimising fouling.”
McEnaney left the possibility open of a new motion going before Congress in the near future. “Now we propose we leave the three players on the line and have the ball struck from outside the 20-metre line. What we will do now is that we do our stats and see where the lie of the land is. Then at the next Congress maybe we can go and say: ‘Lads, we need to go with just the goalkeeper here as 80% of the frees are being saved anyway.’ You can never go to Congress with massive changes — we are putting out small fires along the way.”
McEnaney, when quizzed on the possibility of two referees, such as the system operated in the compromise rules, was against the concept for football but thought it could work in hurling.
“I’m not a big fan of it for football. I can change though. I have to. I’ve refereed in three decades, you have to change. At national level our referees have a good level of fitness and the modern game of football — with a lot of short hand-passing — is relatively easy to stay with. However, we may need to look at it for hurling. It’s a faster game and there’s more ground to cover in a shorter timeframe.”
He refused to be drawn on comments from Ger Loughnane when the Clare man said that McEnaney should have “nothing to do” with hurling. “I admire Loughnane, I love listening to him but I invite anyone to come and look at the amount of clips I have analysed for hurling. We are addressing that. I came out publicly last year and stated the amount of red card offences we have missed. We’ve looked at 14 or 15 instances where we have missed red cards. Anyone that looks at these clips that I want to take out of hurling would not then accuse me of wanting to take the physicality out of hurling. They could accuse me of wanting to take the ‘dirt’ out of hurling.”
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