Dangerous how black cards are being given out - Mickey Harte
Tyrone manager unhappy with how referees determine a foul is deliberate
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has reiterated his disapproval with the current black card penalty, saying it is a "dangerous thing by the way they are being given out" at present.
His nephew Peter Harte recently avoided missing their opening All-Ireland quarter-final against Roscommon when he had one of three black cards he picked up rescinded at a hearing.
That was his dismissal against Longford in their first qualifier game. However, two more, against Donegal in the Ulster semi-final and Cavan in a fourth-round qualifier, still stand after they were reviewed, potentially leaving him just one more away from a suspension. If he got it on Sunday against Kerry in an All-Ireland semi-final, he would miss an All-Ireland final if Tyrone advance.
A motion to a Special Congress in October will seek approval for a 10-minute sin bin, as experimented with during the recent league, and Harte, an opponent of that very sanction when it was brought in on a trial basis in the mid 2000s, now says he would prefer it to the existing sanction that sees a black-carded player replaced for the rest of the game.
Harte feels the issue as to whether an offence is 'deliberate' to merit black isn't often clear, using the context of Peter Harte's three cards to back up his point.
"Deliberate trip - and how do you determine this - by hand or foot, or deliberate block if someone was going to play the ball?" he said at an All-Ireland semi-final press briefing in Garvaghey, Tyrone's centre of excellence, yesterday ahead of the Kerry game.
"This thing is such a get-out clause, 'deliberate', Who can determine if it is deliberate? Any of us looking at it could see if a player didn't try to do anything else than try to commit that foul. If anybody could say that about the ones that affected Petey Harte, and many others that I saw this year as well, then I don't think they are looking at it with the right eyes. That's how it goes. The referee decides 'deliberate' and he is infallible.
"Why was this brought in?" Harte asked. "It was brought in by a rant, over Seán Cavanagh (presumed reference to Joe Brolly's comments after the 2013 Tyrone/Monaghan game which came five months after Congress had actually passed the black card motion).
"And that was a very clear and deliberate, intended pull-down. And so, do any of the things that Petey Harte did, remotely resemble that? That they could be considered clumsy, deliberate, ill-timed? But in the context of it, why would he want to do that after 10 minutes of the Donegal game? Commit a foul that he knew would get a black card and commit to trip somebody? Not a chance.
"And equally so in the Cavan game, even more ridiculous, we were leading by about 14 points, the game is over and there was no reason anybody would want to do that.
"Much as I was never a big fan of the 'sin bin', it's better than the black card as it stands at the minute. To lose a player's entire game over one clumsy or mistimed tackle, which you could read easily to say whether he meant to do that and nothing else, I think that's very difficult to determine. I think something different needs to happen. It's ridiculous, some of the things that are happening just now."
Harte says the decision to sit out Peter Harte wasn't influenced by black card peril and said it was reasonable to rest players who had so much exposure in the previous five weeks.
"It was a question that our players had been on the road five weeks in a row," he said.
"Our players had been playing flat out with very little rest in between. Trying to train a little bit in between and measure and manage that.
"Just think about it, professional players find it tough enough to play five games in a row, and that's five games of knocking the ball about without as much energy or hits as we're getting in Gaelic games.
"Maybe not even as high-energy, high-octane stuff as we play, and these boys go to work every day after it as well, and part-time training and all the rest. It's only reasonable to suggest they would need a wee break from it, as many as possible."
Harte feels criticism of the Super 8s structure is overblown and he would favour its retention, if only that it gives provincial champions a second chance which they didn't have under the previous system.
"I think people are quick to dismiss things because they have got some difficulties with it.
"There's always going to be a possibility that the last game wouldn't have much meaning, other than the status of just having to beat somebody, or these dead rubber things, in terms of the outcome.
"I don't think any game is a dead rubber. When you go out to play against someone with a Tyrone jersey on or a Dublin jersey on or a Kerry jersey on, you want to respect that jersey, you want to respect the people who come to watch the game. I think people still get value for money. Nobody goes out to throw a game or to be disinterested in it.
"There are a few wee things that obviously are problems with the format at the moment, but I think there are things can be done to attend to that.
"And I suppose it's only when you go through a thing for three seasons that people can reflect on what was it that didn't work out the way we would like it to, or what are the things that we didn't anticipate or might have to think about."