Hurling 2O/2O proposals….the good and the bad!

Hurling 2020 Website and Survey Launch

If you’re as obsessed with hurling as I am, then the idea of being able to contribute ideas to make the game better is like a dream come true. That’s what happened with the Hurling 20/20 review. Last year, the GAA released a survey to every hurling enthusiast to fill in and submit ideas to improve hurling in someway , it covered just about everything…player welfare, how the competitions were structured, how referees interpreted the rules ( I’m sure every person who has argued about a dodgy decision was happy about that one!). Anyway the review committee, headed by  ex Tipperary boss Liam Sheedy, complied all the suggestions and married it with their own, and the results and proposals were released this week. It was always going to generate lively debate, but a couple of the proposals did raise a few eyebrows.  So without further ado, here they are….

The Good.

Remove all Relegation playoffs involving teams from different divisions

This is a welcome proposal following the complete and utter mess that was Offaly last year.They still retained their division 1b status at the expense of Kerry. A team should be given one chance to retain their division one status, not two, if they don’t take it then tough luck. Good work by the committee to shed light on the matter.

Remove the promotion/relegation playoff involving the bottom team in the Leinster Round-Robin competition and the Christy Ring cup champion, Instead the bottom Leinster round-robin team would be relegated to the Christy Ring Cup championship, while the Christy Ring champion would automatically be promoted as a reward for winning the competition

A boost for the weaker counties. The round robin series is serving the growth of counties like Carlow and Laois well, and a chance to join them will inject life into a Christy Ring competition which previously had no novelty attached to it.

Reset the terms of reference of the Central Fixtures oversight body to ensure the Club Fixtures Schedule, which provides regular games and activity, is adhered to.

Any attempt to improve the quality of club activity is a good thing. The club player often gets overlooked, as the clubs schedule is dictated by the inter county season. This will hopefully end with this proposal.

Allocate squad members to each county in the Liam MacCarthy competition prior to the teams first game.

Raising the profile of county players seems to the priority here. No complaint from me.

The Bad.

The Hurling 20/20 committee proposes that the awarding of a penalty in hurling will result in a penalty taker having to face one defender on the line. The ball can be placed anywhere outside the 20 meter line but must be struck no further the 20 meter line. The Hurling 20/20 committee proposed the existing rule be changed so that just three defenders on the line while enshrining in rule that the ball cannot be struck beyond the 20 meter line.

I’m the fence about this. I do think by placing one defender on the line will still pose a huge safety risk. Sure, the entertainment will be a draw but what’s more important? It’s likely that this rule will be passed at congress, but we’ll have a better understanding of the pros and cons of the one defender rule as the season progresses, would two defenders on the line be worth a try?

To order off a player who commits a second cautionable foul/ infraction by showing him a second yellow card by pointing to the sideline to signal he can no longer be involved in the game. Allow a replacement from within the substitutions permitted in Rule 2.4 Rules of Specification.

The proposal that drew the most debate. Following the dismissals of Henry Shefflin, Ryan O’Dwyer and Patrick Horgan in 2013, it was clear something needed to be done regarding punishing cynical fouls. However it’s doubtful that they’ve achieved it with this proposal. In fact, it’s encourage even more players to live on the edge without any real action being taken. Perhaps, the committee might be better equipped to look at the standard of refereeing in inter county games. That might be where the solution lies.

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