Thursday 19 April 2018

Crime but no punishment with meaningless yellow cards

Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee

It is possible in a Gaelic football match for no less than 40 yellow cards to be issued by a referee without anyone being sent off.

All that has to happen is for the 30 starting players and five subs on each team to be given a single yellow each and they could play away to their heart's content.

In practice, of course, that never happens, but in the past year we have seen 16 and 18 yellow cards issued in games between Tyrone and Kerry and Louth and Westmeath respectively.

In both cases one player was also sent off but, amazingly, it was not for a second yellow but a straight red card. The fact that there is no penalty – either in the game itself or subsequently – for a player receiving just one yellow card in a match clearly weakens the overall approach to discipline, particularly if a team decides to foul high-quality opponents by rotation as a form of team tactic.

This is done when one player fouls an opponent even though he knows he will get a yellow card but on the understanding that the next time that particular opponent is fouled it will be a colleague who will 'take' the yellow.

This tactic usually targets a star forward, who can be set upon in this way by several different opponents, but neither the offenders or their team suffers any punishment other than a free and one yellow card – which carries no penalty.

Something wrong there!

Irish Independent

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