Rebels see ‘appalling’ plan to change 20m frees as bid to nullify Nash threat

Cork are set to strongly oppose any proposed changes to the way 20m frees are taken in hurling, believing such moves to be an attempted punishment to goalkeeper Anthony Nash.

Nash scored goals from frees in both the drawn All-Ireland final against Clare and the replay. In the first game, there was much discussion following a free when Nash, taking the free, was almost within touching distance of his opposite number Patrick Kelly. A motion is set to go before the GAA’s Annual Congress seeking an alteration to the rule regarding these frees.

At last night’s Cork County Board meeting in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, however, chairman Bob Ryan decried the proposal as “an appalling decision”.

“I have to ask,” he said, “is it because we have a player who can score from these frees a fair amount of the time that this has become an issue now?”

When Cork’s Central Council delegate Des Cullinane replied that he felt it was, Ryan declared that the issue was “something that has to be dealt with”.

Also at the meeting, St Mary’s delegate John Corcoran lamented the fact Cork, having attracted over 320,000 people to championship games this summer, would only have one marquee home game — the opener against Limerick — in the 2014 league following the decision to stay with six teams in Divisions 1A and 1B.

Corcoran declared the alternative options for running the league were “infinitely better” than what will be in place and said that it was almost certain Cork, Limerick, Wexford and Offaly would be in the 2014 quarter-finals.

The St Mary’s delegate also hit out at Carlow captain Edward Coady, who had said Central Council was right not to allow Cork “dictate the structure of the league”.

Corcoran said: “For somebody from Carlow to be lecturing Cork on hurling is akin to Jedward telling Pavarotti how to sing.”

Chairman Ryan again rejected any suggestion that Cork had been behind proposals to change the system. “We at no time initiated any change,” he said, “that came from elsewhere.

“We accepted the situation from day one and we would have accepted any change that benefited us but the debate is over now and we have more serious things to deal with.”

Ryan also paid tributes to retiring Cork footballers Graham Canty, Alan O’Connor, Paudie Kissane, Noel O’Leary, Pearse O’Neill and Alan Quirke as well as departed hurling selector Ger Cunningham.

“They brought great distinction upon themselves and their families with the way they served Cork, and we wish them all the best in the future.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to Ger. Unfortunately, he had a change to his work situation and couldn’t give the same commitment but I’ve no doubt that he has a bright future too.”


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