"Are we going down the route of non-contact in hurling?"

May 17, 2021

Kilkenny's Jackie Tyrrell.
©INPHO/Cathal Noonan.

Former Kilkenny star Jackie Tyrrell reckons that John Kiely is “100% right” to question how referees are interpreting tackles in the Allianz League.

Kiely was speaking after his Limerick’s side defeat to Galway yesterday – their first since 2019 – when he lashed out at the GAA for tampering with the rules and also accused Galway players of diving and looking for soft frees.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Allianz League Sunday, nine-time All-Ireland winner Tyrrell said the Treaty County boss was right to be asking those questions after the full-time whistle in Salthill.

"John Kiely is 100% right," he said. "I would be deeply, deeply concerned for the game of hurling, where it’s going, the trends that have developed over the last two weekends.

"We always see this at the stage of the leagues, referees are whistle-happy.

"Looking over the broad spectrum of games, the volume of frees, the stop-start nature of frees in Westmeath and Waterford, there was 36 in Galway and Limerick.

"We are seeing glorified free-taking competitions. [Dublin’s] Donal Burke: 15 points from frees, [Galway’s] Evan Niland: 14 points, [Tipp’s] Jason Forde: double digits.

"Are we going down the route of non-contact in hurling?

"Because the physicality, which is key to the game of hurling and what attracts us to it, is what we love, is being pushed further and further out of it.

"The free-flowing electricity that oozes through important games [is gone]."

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