DIRECTOR-GENERAL Páraic Duffy released his annual report yesterday. Here are some of his key observations ...
He predicts the end of Friday evening championship matches, citing last year's Carlow/Laois SFC qualifier as "an experiment that is unlikely to be repeated. Players have a valid point when they say that a full working day does not facilitate the mental and physical preparation necessary for a championship game."
He favours new measures to tackle team officials who question the integrity of referees. Arguing that the current eight-week suspension (for conduct discrediting the association) is deemed too severe, hence a reluctance to lay charges against over-critical managers, Duffy suggests: "A more appropriate sanction in the match regulations would be the withdrawal of sideline privileges for a number of games. I believe that this would be an effective deterrent."
He attacks the increasing prevalence of 'dummy team' announcements, which he deems "an embarrassment", and suggests a possible remedy. If the GAA finds it impractical to punish offending teams, "then we should insist that counties release a panel-list of 26 players five days before a game, and that the addition of another player on match day be prohibited. If a player sustains an injury or illness after the panel of 26 has been submitted, that has to be their misfortune," he writes.
He is adamant that the black card is here to stay. While predicting "the inevitable clamour for an about-turn" when players receive black cards in the early weeks of the NFL, he stresses: "Let one thing be clear: there can be no turning back".