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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 26 January 2021

The hurling penalty problem - 'To beat three men from outside the '21 is virtually impossible'

Clare’s Tony Kelly on the current dilemma facing hurlers.

Tony Kelly is gearing up for Saturday's Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 hurling final.
Tony Kelly is gearing up for Saturday's Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 hurling final.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CLARE’S TONY KELLY has sounded a warning about the current rule for penalties in hurling as it is making it ‘virtually impossible’ to find the net in such scenarios.

The 2013 Hurler of the Year is one of the leading players in the game and he fired home a goal from a 20-metre free on his senior championship debut for Clare against Dublin in 2012.

But replicating those strikes is proving harder for players like the Ballyea club man.

“It’s definitely an advantage for the back. If a forward is bearing down on goal and you’re a back then you’ll take a chance of pulling them down because you know more than likely you’ll stop the penalty or the ’21.

“It’s a massive advantage (for defending team). You might as well try to off-load it because the percentage of penalties being scored in this year’s Championship is way down.

“It’s something that needs to be addressed. It’s hard enough to beat the goalkeeper, but to beat three men from outside the ’21 is virtually impossible unless you get lucky by going low. But it’s very hard.”


Ideally Kelly would prefer to see it become a one-on-one contest from penalties but he has identified the possibility of just two players lining up in goal.

“Just one in goal would be great, but I doubt it will go to one. I don’t see anything wrong with two. Maybe one in either side of the goal or whatever way they want to line-up.

“But with three it’s just very hard to score from outside the ’21. Especially from a free, it’s not even from your hand. I’d probably be thinking going with two is the best.”

“I suppose not everyone is even hitting it from the 21. It’s 22 or 23 yards a lot of the time because they’re afraid of encroaching the line and getting punished with a throw-in or something like that.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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