Ballboy era in inter-county game comes to an end

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The day of the ballboy in inter-county Gaelic games is no more, Croke Park have confirmed.

By John Fogarty, GAA Correspondent

The organisation’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) have taken the decision to do without ball retrievers at all league and championship games this year.

As there are no ballboys on duty for provincial fixtures, where there has been little or no problems encountered, it was agreed by the CCCC that this year the measure would be extended to all Central Council-organised games.

Goalkeepers must now retrieve the balls themselves.

The restart protocol in hurling is slightly different: in last year’s All-Ireland final, the goalkeepers had to be handed the sliotar by an umpire before pucking it out.

Last June, the CCCC issued a directive that all ballboys on duty at a football championship game must come from a county not involved in that particular fixture.

It was also stated the ballboy could not feed the ball directly to the goalkeeper but position the balls in a place of easy access to him.

That decision was taken in the wake of injured Tyrone player Conor Clarke acting as Niall Morgan’s ball-retriever during their clash with Monaghan earlier that month.

Standing behind the goal, Clarke attempted to distract Kieran Hughes when he took the penalty and was later asked to leave the area.

In an interview in this newspaper 13 months ago, Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice claimed Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton was fed the ball quickly in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final but when Dublin were leading Kerry’s supply from ballboys slowed down.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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