'Black card needs more consistency'
GAA presidential candidate Sean Walsh has told the country's leading Gaelic football referees to be more consistent in their application of the black card this year.
The game's elite whistlers were put through their paces at a fitness test last Friday evening and the GAA's Referees Development Committee chairman Walsh delivered a clear message.
"The message that we were giving last weekend in relation to football is that we're looking for consistency," he said.
"We're not going to get 100pc consistency but our hope is that this year, we wouldn't have as much talk about the black card as we've had over the last 12 months. They're aware of that themselves.
"This is in relation to the black card in football and its proper application."
Next Friday evening, it's the turn of inter-county hurling referees to undergo a series of stringent fitness tests and those failing to meet the required standards won't be considered for Allianz League matches.
"We would be very happy with fitness levels - we had our fitness test last Friday night for the football and this Friday night for the hurling. All of our refs will be involved for the National League," Walsh predicted.
Walsh also said referees are being unfairly "lambasted" for mistakes in games of major consequence - particularly when they may have made a number of other correct calls during matches.
"There's no doubt that there's more examination of referees in the media," he said. "It's gone up several notches. Referees come in for serious analysis.
"Where 99pc of decisions could be right, they're being lambasted for one and we believe that's unfair."
Meanwhile, it's understood that no potential rule changes will be forthcoming from the referees' body to next month's Annual Congress.
An amendment had been mooted to hurling's square-ball rule, which, similar to football, would have allowed a player to enter the square before the ball in open play.