Tighter disciplinary standards on cards
A flurry of red and yellow cards in the second weekend of the provincial senior championships indicates that disciplinary standards will be tighter than ever this summer.
Referees dished out 38 yellow cards in seven games last weekend (six football), which was an average of 5.4 per match, compared to the four per game that were flashed in each of the two games on the opening weekend.
In addition, four players were sent off on straight red cards and three more for picking up a second yellow. That also continued the trend of straight dismissals, which saw one player sent off on a red card in each of the two games in the first weekend.
The most combative of last weekend's games was Leitrim's shock defeat of Sligo in Connacht, which saw 11 bookings and three players sent off.
Leitrim's Emlyn Mulligan and Sligo's Eamonn O'Hara were both dismissed for a second yellow and Sligo centre-back Brian Curran got a straight red, which could keep him out of the Qualifiers on June 25 if he gets more than the mandatory four-week ban.
There was also a large number of yellow cards in both of the Munster SFC quarter-finals -- eight in Cork versus Clare and seven in Kerry versus Tipperary.
Kerry's Tomas O Se also got a straight red that looks set to earn him an eight-week ban because he was also suspended following the Munster final against Limerick last July.
And while Clare's Graham Kelly was sent off for a second yellow, he is also likely to be hit with a lengthy suspension after headbutting John Miskella in front of the referee before leaving the field of play.
Former Mayo footballer Austin O'Malley, who lined out at centre-forward for Wicklow against Kildare, was also sent off on a straight red, while Carlow's Jack Kavanagh will earn a suspension after getting sent off in their Leinster SHC loss to Westmeath.
The theory that defenders are most susceptible to picking up yellow cards has already been disproven. Of the four yellow cards Kildare collected, just one went to a defender and this was also the case in Kerry's four. All three yellows that Tipperary's footballers picked up against the Kingdom were given to attackers.
The cleanest game so far was Derry's Ulster SFC victory over Fermanagh, which yielded just a single card (yellow) from Cavan referee Joe McQuillan for Derry corner-back Michael Bateson.