Friday 21 October 2016

Off The Ball: Hysteria over black card calls clouds real issues

Colm Parkinson

Published 26/08/2015 | 02:30

Referee Maurice Deegan's black card decisions were subject to discussion after Sunday's game
Referee Maurice Deegan's black card decisions were subject to discussion after Sunday's game

I'm tired of hearing about the black card.

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After a classic game of football on Sunday, all the talk afterwards was about black card decisions Maurice Deegan allegedly got wrong.

Forget that Kerry scored 18 points against a defensive team like Tyrone, forget the re-emergence of Tyrone as a force, forget about kick-out strategies, counter-attack football and missed goal chances, let's talk about black cards.

The fact is they had little or no bearing on the outcome of the game. Yes, on a personal level it's unfortunate for the player involved but people forget he is replaced by a sub and a fresh pair of legs.

Black cards were introduced to reduce cynical play. I think their effectiveness has been hampered by the list of offences published that warrant the punishment. I'd prefer if they were guidelines with referees' interpretation coming into play.

I thought Ronan McNamee deserved a black card because he took Gooch out of the game in an attacking position. It was cynical. Just because he didn't "deliberately pull down" his opponent doesn't mean it wasn't cynical.

Why does the black card need to be policed in such black-and-white fashion? Referees already use discretion with yellow and red cards. Some referees send players off for striking but others don't, depending on the severity of the strike. In the rule book, striking is a red card.

I thought Maurice Deegan had an excellent game. The penalty decision was absolutely correct. Padraig McNulty dived and tried to con the referee. When I hear pundits talking about 'contact', I worry that we're going down the same road as soccer.

Too much airtime is given to referee performances. It's lazy punditry. You don't need to be an ex-player, getting paid to give insights on the game, to spend your time debating about referee decisions. That's a job for supporters over a few pints.

Irish Independent

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