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01st Feb 2020

“I hate a handpass goal so as a back, I think they’re good”

Niall McIntyre

Summer 2018 and Katie Power broke Galway hearts with a hand-pass goal.

It was the All-Ireland senior camogie semi-final between Galway and Kilkenny and the teams were delicately poised heading into the closing stages at Semple Stadium.

A goal would win it you felt, as the teams headed into the final quarter. Right on cue, Kilkenny’s star forward Katie Power ghosted in behind the Galway defence and with goalkeeper Sarah Healy closing her down as well as a defender in hot pursuit, the handiest way Power could get a shot at goal was by using the hand-pass.

With a flick of the wrists DJ Carey would be proud of, the Piltown player left the Galway net rippling and sent Kilkenny on their way to another final.

For the Tribeswomen, it was heartbreak. The hand-pass goal has always been a bit of taboo topic and to be beaten by one was a real sickener.

Heather Cooney was playing that day, and she’s delighted with the new rule which prohibits dropping the hurley and hand-pass goals.

“You’ll have to drop it on the hurley (from now on.) As a back, I think they’re good. I hate a handpass goal so I think they’re going to be for the improving of the game anyway,” she said at the Launch of Littlewoods Ireland, style meets substance campaign.

Power admits the option of a hand-pass goal will be missed by forwards but also nods that it’s for the better of the game.

“I do think it’s going to be strange as forwards not being able to drop the hurl.

“It’s a handy thing to do if you’re bottled up. For backs, they’re delighted – forwards are kind of secretly like, ‘aw sugar, that’s gone now.’

“As a whole, it’s probably for the better. I got one in the semi-final against Galway one year but it is better as a spectacle. It’s like hurling now – before these rules, you’d be saying they were the same but they weren’t, because you could hand-pass the ball into the net, it’s positive that they are the same now…”

As for the other rule changes, which include increased contact, quick puck-outs and a free from the hand inside a player’s 45 metre line, both players agree that they may take a bit of getting used to for players and referees.

“It’s going to take a while to get used to it but I think there was a certain amount of contact. Inevitably, in a game, there’s going to be an element of contact. It’s now just written on paper as a rule for referees,” says Cooney of the contact rule.

“It’ll be interesting to see how referees ref it. It’s still quite a grey area. What is exactly minimal contact? It’ll be at the discretion of the ref. It’ll be interesting to see how that one is reffed…”

“I think it’s good that we’re trying to change the game and improve it. Some of them, you’re looking at them thinking it’ll be interesting to see how they play out.

“Some of the ones, like the free outside the ’45, it’ll be interesting to see will players make use of. Whereas you can play it out of the hand, we’ll say you don’t actually have to take the free from the ground,” she added.

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