The Cork hurling management will not be instructing goalkeeper Anthony Nash to tailor his 20m free-taking technique until it is deemed necessary to do so.
A motion before the GAA’s Annual Congress the weekend after next will seek to prevent players from being inside the 20m line when striking a free. This move comes in the wake of Nash’s success from frees thanks to pick-ups which propel the ball forward, well inside the line.
While a change may be on the horizon, any close-in frees or penalties for Cork against Limerick in their Allianz Hurling League Division 1B opener on Saturday night will be dealt with in the usual fashion by Nash, who scored in a recent challenge game against Tipperary.
“There certainly won’t be any change from our end,” said Cork selector Johnny Crowley.
“If somebody else wants to change things then we’ll have to look at that if an when it happens, but for now we’ll be treating it like normal. Anthony takes his frees in a certain way and until it’s made illegal it won’t be a problem.”
Goalkeeper Nash is expected to captain Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday in the absence of regular skipper Pa Cronin, who has an ankle injury. Séamus Harnedy (hip) and Conor O’Sullivan (groin) are also been ruled out along with long-term absentee Paudie O’Sullivan, who is recovering from a broken leg. Otherwise, Rebels manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy will have a full squad to choose from, including dual players Eoin Cadogan and Aidan Walsh.
“Luke O’Farrell had a bit of a shoulder injury,” said Crowley, “but that’s almost fully cleared up now at this stage. He’ll be available for selection anyway.
“We should know more about the other three lads after the weekend. They’re all coming along fairly well, they’re getting there though Conor is probably the slowest.
“Other than that, we’re just hoping that anybody playing in the Fitzgibbon Cup comes through that without any problems.”
Having beaten Tipperary and UCC in challenge games last week, Cork did not have a game at the weekend. Anthony Nash, Lorcán McLoughlin, Daniel Kearney and Patrick Horgan were involved with Munster in the Interprovincial Championship while Cadogan had college exams.
The importance of the game against the Shannonsiders is ramped up because the sides are the two favourites for promotion and there is no league final this year. Having such a tough opener helps to focus the minds, according to Crowley.
“Exactly,” he said, “it’s the first game and we’re at home, but it’s obviously going to be very tough, especially after last year and the championship.
“They’ll be up for it too, they have a new management team in place. There’s nothing easy, there’s no two ways about it.”
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