Deluge of black cards fails to materialise
Black wasn't the colour it might have expected to be as the new deterrent to punish cynical play in Gaelic football was rolled out on the first weekend of 2014 action, WRITES COLM KEYS.
Referees handed out just 13 black cards in 20 provincial pre-season games over the weekend with 2013 All-Ireland final referee Joe McQuillan the busiest, ending the afternoon for three players prematurely.
Down's Kalum King and Darragh O'Hanlon and Armagh's Pearse Casey were all deemed to have fouled cynically in their Dr McKenna Cup match in Newry.
McQuillan's action did not meet with universal approval, with Down's Conor Laverty, who wasn't playing, among those to offer criticism on Twitter.
Louth manager Aidan O'Rourke was one of the most ardent critics of the legislation and he was forced to replace two of his players, Richie Brennan and Brian White, during their O'Byrne Cup match with DCU on Saturday night.
Donegal All-Ireland winner Rory Kavanagh was the highest-profile player to be removed from the play on a black card as Donegal lost to Tyrone.
Football Review Committee chairman Eugene McGee, who was in Mullingar for the O'Byrne Cup match between Westmeath and Dublin, never expected a deluge of black cards.
"There were a lot of new players and the main thing for them is they want to stay on the field. There was a match somewhere where a guy was sent off after 10 minutes and I heard somebody complaining, 'ah, isn't that terrible, the poor fella, he trained for the last six months and he only got six minutes'. All he had to do was not pull the guy down and he'd get to play the whole match," he said.