Ryan's simple solution to the penalty conundrum: 'Get rid of the goalie hurl'
PAUL RYAN - a hurler who knows all about launching 20-metre missiles - has a simple solution to the never-ending penalty rule debate that has consumed the sport.
"I probably think it could have been solved if they'd just got rid of the goalie hurl," the Dubliner states, in such a matter-of-fact way that you are left to wonder ... why all the fuss in the first place?
This controversy has been raging ever since wandering Cork 'keeper Anthony Nash perfected his lift-and-strike technique en route to the 2013 All-Ireland final. In reaction we've had rival custodians charging the yard-stealing penalty-taker - and then Croke Park imposing health-and-safety edicts, mid-championship, to stop the taker striking inside the 20m line.
Finally we've had a new rule passed at Congress, transforming penalties into a one-v-one battle of wits. Three on the line is dead. Yet, according to Ryan, there was no compelling reason to change the status quo.
"There wouldn't have been any need to switch the people on the line … just take the goalie hurl out of the free, and you wouldn't be connecting with it as cleanly," he argues, speaking at an AIG product launch in Parnell Park.
The Ballyboden ace suffered under last summer's temporary rule shift, seeing a crucial second half penalty blocked on the line by Tipp's Brendan Maher. Yet he has no issue with defenders 'borrowing' a wider bás hurl from their netminder - his objection was to the penalty-taker (specifically a 'keeper) using one of these hurls to launch his 20-metre Exocet.
You can sense his frustration that the rule-makers chose a more radical solution.
"I would have seen it as an easy issue to solve, just taking the goalie hurl away - especially if a goalie's coming down to take the free, if he's switching to an outfield hurl, he's not going to connect with it as (he would) using a goalie hurl," he argues.
With one on the line, does he expect more penalty goals?
"I'd imagine so, yeah."
But will it now be a case of the taker picking his spot? "You'd have to put a certain amount of power in it - and pick a spot. But you're under threat now that the 'keeper is just going to move (beforehand), rather than relying on reaction ... so he's going to pick a spot, and you're going to pick a spot, and that's going to be a guessing game."