Sport Gaelic Football

Tuesday 26 September 2017

'We'll have to be more careful with how we tackle'

‘You don't start mouthing to a referee or an umpire or the opposition or your own players and you don't pull someone down,’ says Longford goalkeeper Damien Sheridan
‘You don't start mouthing to a referee or an umpire or the opposition or your own players and you don't pull someone down,’ says Longford goalkeeper Damien Sheridan
Marie Crowe

Marie Crowe

The football season heads into its second week today and Marie Crowe has been getting reaction to the black card rule

THE REFEREE

Rory Hickey (Clare)

It is early days yet and referees, players and managers are all feeling their way around the new rules. So far I've found players are doing their best to stay out of the way of oncoming players after a pass, they don't want to body-collide and they are not pulling the jerseys of players coming out.

Up until now it was almost second nature to commit such a foul, but now they are more conscious of not doing it. It's more free-flowing, the only mistakes players were making were in passes or shots going wide. There was no such thing as a guy being pulled back and having to shoot under pressure. It made for a better more open game and after a while I think it will be easier to referee.

Until we are all used to it there is a bit more to be thinking about, like differentiating between what is an accidental or deliberate foul. But all that will come in time, like most things in the GAA, such as Hawk-Eye, it will fall into place.

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THE GOALKEEPER

Damien Sheridan (Longford)

I've found that so far that the referees aren't too inclined to throw them [black cards] out. In our games there seemed to be instances which merited a black card but they are throwing out a yellow. It seems that they are trying to avoid it. Maybe when the league kicks in we will see more of it.

From a goalkeeper's perspective, there are probably only a couple of ways that you would pick one up. It's easy to be aware of what you can and can't do. So you don't start mouthing to a referee or an umpire or the opposition or your own players and you don't pull someone down.

Although I've had a lot of lads running at me in the last game, I think in the summer I will really notice the effects of the rules. The pitches will be harder, lads with pace and a good sidestep will be able to get away. It will be very different to winter football, where it is easier to tackle.

I'm finding the gumshield a hard one to get used to. It can be hard to get in and out of my mouth and it's hard to be clear when you are shouting.

I try to keep it in the whole time and during training I'll try and sit in the changing room with it in.

When taking a drink or if you need to spit then you have to take it out. That's okay for an outfield player with small gloves or one not wearing any but with big 'keeper's gloves it's hard.

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THE DEFENDER

Emmett Bolton (Kildare)

There is a perception out there that it will ruin the game and that defenders will be afraid to tackle. But really we will have to be more careful with how we tackle.

We will have to reinvent our tackling, some like to get hands on or pull at the elbows but you can't do that anymore.

In terms of defending, it gives the forward a bit more room and that is something that we are going to have to address as defenders. If a lad handpasses a ball over your head, it would be second nature for a defender to stop his run but that's not happening now. We have to be more agile, turn and go with the man. It also means that your half-forward and full-forward line will have to work a bit harder to track back. It's pretty simple, there are five infractions and you don't do them. You just have to be more conscious about how you do things.

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THE MIDFIELDER

John Heslin (Westmeath)

From an attacking point of view, when you are going forward from midfield it's a great thing because in the past your run was always stopped. You were either pulled down or a lad would step in front of you to cut you off but now that is gone. A lot of the blocking and stopping used to happen around the middle of the field, there is an openness around there now which is great for the game, it allows for free-flowing football.

From a defensive midfielder's point of view, you have to be more on your toes and aware of what is going on around you.

It is a little bit harder to defend but overall it is a good thing and once all the players are used to it we will really see how beneficial it is.

I'm captain of UCD at the moment and I'm finding that relations with the referees are improving, the respect players have for them is really coming back. When we went up for the toss the referee explained that we are all learning at the moment with the black card.

They are open to players asking questions and checking what constitutes a black card.

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THE FORWARD

Paul Kerrigan (Cork)

There are positives and negatives about it. As a forward your man has to play the ball and not you. That's not what used to happen before and players were being taken out of it.

But when you are defending and tracking back, the same applies to you, you can't get in the player's way. It takes a bit of getting used to and at training lads are always shouting "don't check, don't check". We just have to be aware of what we are doing, get out of the bad habits and into the good habits.

We practise these things in training, even the small things like turning your back and running after the ball again rather than facing off the man. As a forward, you'd always be conscious of working on your tackle; one bad lazy high tackle or (if you get tired) and pull on a jersey then you are gone. You don't want that to happen.

If you are thinking down the line to championship and getting on the team, you don't want to be seen to be getting a black card or be a threat for a black card because it jeopardises your chances of getting on the team.

Irish Independent

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