Black card initiative will encourage divers warns McEnaney
REFEREES chief Pat McEnaney says he has prepared his officials to expect a lot more diving in the GAA in 2014 because of the new black card rule, and warned that they will be wise to players' theatrics.
One of the infringements that will earn a black card is if a player 'deliberately' takes down an opponent.
"It's one of the things that we've discussed -- that players will simulate," said McEnaney.
"We've (already) seen it in our game; it's not a massive issue, but it is done. And players buying a free by holding the hand in...
"What I say to players is 'you pull a fella's jersey, you've taken the decision-making out of your hands'. Maybe the lesson is: don't pull a fella's jersey."
Laois footballer Colm Begley has already suggested that the latest GAA initiative to eradicate cynical fouling will fail because players will deliberately get a third black card in order to serve their suspension in the final games of the Allianz League and not the championship.
McEnaney admitted that would not surprise him.
"You see it in soccer where they accumulate (cards). I know a fella in Division One of the English league. One of the boys used to always accumulate three cards before Christmas so that he'd be suspended for the Christmas period and get home," he said. "We can't eradicate that, it is possible."
But McEnaney, who has led the nationwide education programme on the new rules for 2014 said he still believes they will improve Gaelic football and help take the cynicism out of them.
Only top-quality championship referees will be assigned games in the first round of Leinster's pre-season Bord na Mona O'Byrne Cup to help make for a smoother transition. Seminars have taken place in all 32 counties, and 2,100 club referees have already been briefed.
McEnaney (right) revealed that seven or eight county teams also requested briefings on them, and he gave the Dublin minors a seminar on them last night.
The former top referee believes the initiatives will be successful because "we have a history of getting it right in the Association".
"I've been playing football since I was six years of age... the amount of changes we've made to our games since... and the amount of times we've gone back, is only once: the handpass rule," he added.
McEnaney doesn't believe the scaremongers who claim that the new black cards will cause chaos and see too many players sent off.
"This time last year we were looking at the square-ball rule. People said there was going to be goalkeepers killed, full-backs assassinated -- there was a whole load of reasons given to me about why we should not change the square-ball rule," he said.
"A year later, where do we sit on that? It's been a great rule. The five-second advantage, to me, is also a great rule for a club referee.
"The more experienced referees operating at national level tend to be better referees and better with the slow whistle. Now we're rolling this down to club referees, so I think the five-second rule will be brilliant."
Meanwhile, Tom Ryan will be involved with the Limerick intermediate hurlers next year -- as part of a five-man management team.
A special meeting of the county board was held last night and it was agreed that Ryan, whose original nomination as manager was rejected by the executive committee, and the four men who were originally meant to be his selectors -- Pat Howard, Don Flynn, Tony Riche and Jimmy Carroll -- will all jointly manage the team.