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Pa Kelly: 'Once the player touches the ball, the goalie should be allowed attack'

Clare keeper says the rules need to be changed to avoid a repeat of All-Ireland final controversy.

CLARE GOALKEEPER PA Kelly has re-opened the debate surrounding 21-yard frees in hurling, describing the current rules as a “grey area.”

Kelly was at the centre of controversy in the drawn All-Ireland hurling final when he charged off his line to block Anthony Nash’s shot.

Kelly insists that he was entitled to move once Nash touched the ball, but the Cork keeper felt that his opposite number should have stayed in place until the free was struck towards goal, a point he furiously made to referee Brian Gavin at the time.

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Credit: RTÉ.ie

“I’ve a strong opinion on that to be honest,” Kelly said. “In my view, once the player touches the ball, the goalie should be allowed attack the ball.

“It’s in play. And look, I took it off the body the last day

I’ll put it to you this way. You can take a free by pulling on the ball on the ground. It’s one strike of the ball. It’s one touch.

I started my run on the line. I came out. Would I do again the next day? Who knows.

Gavin later had a word with the Clare defenders before a 21-yard free in the second half, which Nash scored.

But Kelly says the rules need to be changed, particularly if the taker is advancing five or six yards towards goal while lifting the ball as Nash did.

It’s a grey area to be honest with you. Maybe the two of us were in the wrong. He has to be 20 metres away but sure, if you’re 20 metres away from a man hitting a ball on the 13-yard line… it just doesn’t make sense.

So I think that rule has to be altered. There has been so much talk of it, something will have to be done.

“You can’t encroach from a penalty. But from a 21.. I don’t know why he said it to me the second time.

“Maybe Anthony Nash had a word with him. He wasn’t too happy that I came off my line.

“Look, it happened. It’s history now. And hopefully the referee won’t give them any more handy 21-yard frees.”

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Niall Kelly

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