IS there such a thing as the perfect penalty? These days, you can have exact details on any top-level penalty-taker, with graphics depicting the range of whether he goes to the left, right, or straight down the middle.
Throw in the percentages (like 55% of the kicks going to one side, 35% to the other, and the remaining 10% in the centre) and a full picture emerges.
The bottom line is the success rate and that is the kernel.
A penalty that ends with the ball in the back of the net has to be considered perfect, because it’s the outcome that matters most, not whether the ’keeper gets a hand to it or the ball strikes the frame of the goal.
There were two penalties in the Cork-Tipperary hurling league tie at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday night, when a crowd of almost 10,000 thrilled to the action. Both came at the city end, with the first in opening period stoppage-time, following a foul on Robbie O’Flynn by Sean O’Brien, who has having a hard time on Alan Cadogan.
Predictably, new captain, Patrick Horgan, stepped up to extend Cork’s lead, which stood at 1-13 to 0-15 at the time.
Was it going to be power or placement to beat the ’keeper, Brian Hogan, who is an imposing 6ft 4in?
Horgan went for both, unleashing a thunder-bolt, low to the left corner of the Tipp’ ’keeper, who had no chance.
The second penalty came near the finish, with Cork leading 2-23 to 0-25.
Cork ’keeper, Patrick Collins, pulled off a great save from Tipp’ substitute, Niall O’Meara, with the rebound falling to John McGrath, who was fouled by Bill Cooper.
Tipp’s regular penalty-taker, Jason Forde, had been substituted and we wondered who was going to step forward.
In his place came Hogan himself, wandering up from the Blackrock end.
Again, was it going to be power and/or placement? Hogan went for brute force and his exocet seemed to be more explosive than Horgan’s, as it crashed over Collins into the roof of the net. It would be interesting to calculate the speed of both penalties.
Earlier in the day, there was a penalty in the St Francis College Rochestown-St Brendan’s, Killarney Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final in Mallow. It came at a major point in the game, won by the Sem 2-12 to 2-8, when Rochestown led 2-6 to 1-8.
Full-forward Dylan O’Callaghan was fouled and Emmet O’Shea (who was on the Kerry minor team that defeated Cork in the Munster final, before the Rebels captured the All-Ireland) accepted the responsibility. Even though it’s closer, there’s a greater chance of a penalty save in football than in hurling.
Roco ’keeper, Cian O’Leary, made a valiant effort, diving to his left and getting a strong hand, but O’Shea’s kick carried too much power, flying deep into the net.
Meanwhile, UCC Freshers wrap up the group stage of the championship by hosting last year’s runners-up, DCU, at the Mardyke this afternoon, at 4pm. Both have qualified for next month’s quarter-finals, after seeing off CIT in the other games.
UCC won 2-20 to 0-5, with Ryan Quigley (Moyle Rovers) top-scoring with 2-5, Fionn Herlihy, the captain from Dohenys, and Darragh Hayes (Carbery Rangers) hitting 0-4 apiece, and Conor Russell (Douglas) 0-3. UCC are the league champions, defeating UL in the final, and this was the team that played against CIT.
D Foley (Éire Óg); E Fitzgerald (Gneeveguilla), D O’Mahony (Knocknagree), J O’Rearden (Carbery Rangers); S Desmond (Clondrohid), E Lehane (Canovee), B Lynch (Douglas); M O’Gara (Austin Stacks, L Kennedy (St Kieran’s, Limerick); I Jennings (Kilmacabea), F Herlihy (Dohenys) captain, C Crowley (Glanmire); D Hayes (Carbery Rangers), R Quigley (Moyle Rovers), C Russell (Douglas).
Subs: R O’Brien (Fr Casey’s, Limerick) for Kennedy 10 inj, R Ó Beaglaoich (An Gaeltacht) for Russell 34, C O’Sullivan (Urhan) for O’Rearden 40, E Dodd (Canovee) for Lynch 41, S O’Sullivan (Adrigole) for Jennings.