Thursday 19 October 2017

Martin Breheny: Bloody mess needs to be mopped up

Castlebar's Fergal Durkan is tackled by Ronan Steede. Steede was substituted no fewer than five times during the Connacht club football semi-final due to a recurring nosebleed. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Castlebar's Fergal Durkan is tackled by Ronan Steede. Steede was substituted no fewer than five times during the Connacht club football semi-final due to a recurring nosebleed. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Corofin midfielder Ronan Steede may well have set a record last Sunday for the most individual substitutions in a single game, having flitted in and out of the Connacht club football semi-final no fewer than five times.

It was all very frustrating for him as a recurring nosebleed interrupted his contribution to a great contest with Castlebar but his day ended well as the Galway champions edged to victory in extra-time.

Corofin were fully entitled to use the blood regulations to get Steede back into the action every time the bleeding stopped but surely the rule needs to be tidied up, not just in terms of how often a player is allowed back on after being treated but also how long a blood sub can remain in the action.

That wasn't an issue with Steede or his replacements but there have been several instances in big inter-county games over the years of a player going off for treatment to a cut and not returning for a long time if the replacement was playing well.

Since there's no time limit on how long a player can remain off the pitch with a blood wound without his replacement becoming a full sub, the rule can be manipulated. That was never intended following the introduction of the rule in 2001 to enable doctors to treat a player without leaving his team short.

Dr Con Murphy led the calls for a blood sub rule, pointing out that it was wrong to have medics working on a cut while under pressure for a quick fix from the player who didn't want to leave his team short-handed.

A time limit (10 minutes?) should be attached so that if a player is off the pitch for longer than that, his return is a full substitution. There should also be a restriction too on the number of times a player can go in and out under the blood rule, without becoming an official sub.

Irish Independent

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