Monday 23 October 2017

Gilroy: Cynicism must be stopped

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Former Dublin manager Pat Gilroy believes the Football Review Committee are on the right road with their attempts to clean up cynicism in Gaelic football.

Speaking as part of a panel discussion at Saturday's annual GAA coaching conference at Croke Park, Gilroy agreed that teams that engage in cynical play will generally profit in the modern game. It was a rare endorsement by a football manager of recent vintage for the new proposals.

While stopping short of endorsing the addition of a black card introduced this week that ring-fences five specific indiscretions that will force a player to be substituted, Gilroy (below) said he felt the right steps are being taken.

"All the diagnosis is spot on and all the problems have been clearly identified. Even in kids' games they get away with it. The advantage is with the team that is most cynical," he said.

"It has become part of the game. It's not just one team. It has become automatic that you move the ball quickly or else you could get caught up in that (cynicism). It has become a feature over the last five years."

The panel discussion also featured the FRC's chairman Eugene McGee, who defended the addition of a black card which will now feature as a motion at Congress in March.

McGee described the offences that will constitute the black card as the "five deadly sins" and predicted that if the motion was passed, they would become a thing of the past.

"Good managers won't let their players engage in it," he said.

"I would say that if the black card concept is introduced there will rarely be a time when more than three are produced because players just won't risk these type of fouls and offences."

Longford manager Glenn Ryan also agreed with the process of trying to reduce cynical play but feels there will be added "confusion" with an extra card. He suggested the five offences could be punished by a straight red card without any subsequent game suspension.

"If someone commits one of these fouls and deliberately rugby tackles an opponent, that's an attempt to gain an advantage by deliberately breaking the rules," he said.

Pat McEnaney, the chairman of the national referees committee, doesn't envisage that the new proposals will cause any problems for referees.

"If you go back a number of years, noting offences were dealt with a black card and we can't see an issue with it," he said.

McEnaney warned that all the proposals the FRC have put forward shouldn't be lost because of the contention surrounding cards.

"There are a lot of good proposals there that are very good for our game," he said.

"Take the three yellow cards and you miss your next game. Our Association has been crying out for that sort of thing for as long as I can remember.

"The 30-metre advance for backchat to a referee or for not releasing the ball is another great idea.


"As for the advantage rule, I wish I had that when I was still refereeing. For me, the rugby advantage rule goes on far too long. I think the five-second rule is quite good."

Kerry ladies football manager William O'Sullivan felt the sin bin, which applies in the ladies game, was still the best option for the men's game.

Among the speakers at the conference were horse trainer Jim Bolger and Ireland's Olympic head boxing coach Billy Walsh.

Bolger emphasised the need for freshness with athletes and horses, regularly applying the phrase "keep them bouncing" to his audience, while Walsh focused on his journey to and after the Olympics, with particular emphasis on the psychological impact after the Games.

Irish Independent

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