Sunday 11 December 2016

The curse of quiet cynicism

Black card's arrival will finally put the onus on coaches to develop the skill of tackling

Published 12/08/2013 | 05:00

Sean Cavanagh - seen here in action against Ryan Bradley during their Ulster SFC first round game - has garnered plenty of attention after his fouling against Monaghan last weekend
Sean Cavanagh - seen here in action against Ryan Bradley during their Ulster SFC first round game - has garnered plenty of attention after his fouling against Monaghan last weekend

I don't know when exactly the term 'cynical play' arrived into the GAA lexicon but it certainly was not in vogue any more than 10 years ago. However, the activity itself has been there in numerous guises since the GAA was founded.

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For most football people it was covered under the general title of 'dirty play' and for a long period up to about 30 years ago it was often called 'third man tackle', which was essentially a licence to kill in football terms.

Cynical is just a fancy word for destructive tackling but with the development of sophisticated coaching methods – much of which are borrowed from other sports – cynical fouling has become a central part of coaching to many teams.

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