THE showing of the 'black book' by GAA referees is a thing of the past.
The GAA, in conjunction with their referees committee, have announced that the 'books,' which have been in operation for the last four years, will no longer be shown to errant players.
Instead, those who commit noting or ticking infractions, as they have become known, will be informed verbally of the decision.
The new policy will come into immediate effect and the GAA says that it will reduce the number of stoppages in a game.
However, it will also make scrutiny of refereeing performances much more difficult with commentators and supporters alike unlikely to be able to detect when a noting or a ticking has taken place.
In this regard it will reduce certain pressures on referees, which may also be a factor behind the decision.
Announcing the decision yesterday the GAA pointed out that it was "a procedural change in the recording process and is not a change to rule.
"The only change arising from this decision is that referees will no longer display the black book to players meaning play will no longer be stopped to allow for this practice."
Championship referees met in Athlone on Wednesday night for a briefing, but the decision of the referees committee was only conveyed to Croke Park yesterday morning.
Referees co-ordinator Pearse Freaney outlined that there was "consensus" on the decision to remove the black books from the equation, meaning just yellow and red cards will be shown again.
The original thinking behind a 'black book' being shown was for illustration, to make it aware to everyone that a player was on a warning prior to the production of a yellow card.
"The feeling was that it was an irritation for people and perhaps wasn't being used right," said Freaney.
"Black books were never a rule. They just showed people what was being done," he added.
The notion that the GAA didn't want to leave a paper trail, however, can't be avoided and tracking fouls will now be much more difficult.
"We don't think it will diminish the enforcement of rules in any way. A referee will verbally notify a player that he has been noted for a foul. If he repeats that he will be yellow-carded," said Freaney.
"The message we got in some places when we went around the country with the experimental rules was the rules were okay if they were enforced properly. We'll see how this works," he said.
The referees committee is now under the chairmanship of Mick Curley, the former Galway referee.
Meanwhile, Down's hurling manager Jim McKernan has personally apologised to Limerick boss Justin McCarthy after failing to get enough players together to play his side in an inter-county challenge last weekend.
Limerick travelled north to play both Down and Antrim in a double-header inter-county challenge in Ballycastle last Saturday, but the Mourne's hurlers had to pull out 70 minutes beforehand. McKernan said that there was a full attendance -- bar one player -- for Tuesday night's training session and that the matter of last weekend's failure to field "is being dealt with internally. At this point in time, we're looking forward to the Derry game," he said of their Christy Ring Cup opener in Newry tomorrow.
Monaghan have breathed a sigh of relief after confirmation that a knee injury suffered by John Paul Mone is not serious.
Mone was forced off 10 minutes into the second half of a challenge game against Dublin last Monday.
But manager Seamus McEnaney has confirmed that his injury is nothing long-term and that midfielder Eoin Lennon will also be fine after a facial injury in the same game. Monaghan play Derry in the Ulster SFC on May 24.