Sunday 21 January 2018

Gavin blames ‘soapbox’ managers for reluctance to enforce sin-bin

Dublin manager Jim Gavin.
Dublin manager Jim Gavin.
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

DUBLIN manager Jim Gavin would like to give the black card concept the boot, because he feels it could used as a cynical ploy at crucial periods of championship matches.

The black card is among a number of recommendations put forward by the Football Review Committee and will be discussed at Congress later this month. Referees would use the card to send off a player who commits specified fouls, including tripping or pulling down an opponent and remonstrating with an official. The sent-off player could be replaced.

If passed, it would come into force in 2014, but Gavin would prefer a sin-bin. This idea was trialled some years ago, but never made it past the experimental stage.

"I'd be in favour of the sin-bin. I thought it worked really well back in '05 and '08," he said. "Just some managers got on their soapboxes and banged the drum loud enough and it went. I think it's a much more punitive measure.

"The FRC have done stellar work. They identified that one of the problems is cynical fouling, but the only way to eradicate it is to get a player off the pitch, not replace him with somebody else.

"Tactically, managers could use that to their advantage, putting in a B-rate player, he gets a ticking (black card), off he comes and he's replaced by the A-rate player. The only way you're going to hurt teams is getting guys off the field – we've seen that with other sporting organisations as well, the disadvantages of having some of your key men off the pitch at key moments in the game, particularly at the back end of a championship game when it tends to happen.

"Or when you're in a lead and teams have some type of a zonal, mass-defence system and the only way to create that space that forwards need – if there is (cynical) fouling – is to put them in the bin."

The Dublin manager has more immediate concerns, with the visit of Mayo to Croke Park tomorrow night.

One player definitely out of contention is Rory O'Carroll, who plays Fitzgibbon Cup today for UCD, but Ciaran Kilkenny could have a role to play, despite being in the U-21 squad for Wednesday's match against Longford. He is expected to be named on the bench.

"Yes, we're planning without Rory," said Gavin.

"He has a game 24 hours before a National Football League game, so it is quite tight and he is not in our plan. We have Ciaran in the programme for the weekend. Again, we're conscious of getting the balance right with the guys playing the U-21 grade, but he is there."

As for Mayo, Gavin refuses to countenance any suggestion they are a bogey team for the Dubs, despite defeats to the Green and Red in the league and the All-Ireland semi-final last year.

"That has no resonance at all. We have different fellas here this year than were there last year, a different style of play, and it's many moons ago. A lot has happened since then," he said.

"We need to acknowledge that Mayo are a very strong side. They were very competitive in the league last year and they've been one of the dominant teams around for the last few years. It's a real test for us.

"They certainly have a championship team out this weekend. They have a strong back six, a very strong midfield.

"Mayo are tenacious, are very good from kick-outs and they've got guys who can attack from defence and hurt you as well. They've got a clatter of players that can score goals and points and they're a very dangerous side."

With full points from the opening two games, how important is it that Dublin make it three in a row?

"The way we see it is we have the next four games to try and get some consistency of performance. Hopefully results will follow. If they don't, then we'll have to look at the way we're doing things. Getting four points in the bag is great but it's just a start," said Gavin.

Irish Independent

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