High time to reclaim the many lost minutes
Referee Colm Lyons played 85 seconds of stoppage-time at the end of the Clare v Limerick game last Sunday, co-inciding exactly with the break in play when Seanie Tobin was sent off.
Obviously, the referee adjudged that was the only break which called for added-time. Yet, in the final 10 minutes alone, play was stopped six times as substitutions were made.
Technically, the referee was correct not to take these delays into account as there is no provision for adding time on for subs, unless time-wasting is involved.
Of course, there's always a delay as the sub comes on and the replaced player leaves, especially when a team is making judicious use of their bench to run down the clock. All 10 substitutions came in the second half, five in the closing five minutes. That's quite common nowadays, yet there's no added-time allocation.
It would be fairer if a minimum of 15 seconds were added on for each substitution. That would have given a further 2mins 30secs last Sunday, a long time in such a close game.
Fifteen seconds is quite short (there was an 85-second break for one replacement last Sunday) but it would be better than the current system where no allowance is made for replacements.
Of course, there's nothing to prevent a referee using his discretion. He is, after all, the sole time-keeper.