Saturday 26 May 2018

McCarthy victim of whack by blunt instrument

James McCarthy. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
James McCarthy. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Another big game, another outbreak of frustration over the application of the black card rule.

Dublin were unhappy over James McCarthy's dismissal last Sunday, arguing that if he deserved to be sent off, so did some others. It's a perfectly valid point. But then, as with all rules, borderline cases come down to interpretation by referees, inevitably leading to disagreements.

The black card sanction was introduced for all the right reasons, seeking to eradicate deliberate and cynical fouling.

It seemed simple enough, but problems have arisen with differentiating between black and yellow card offences. Many are close calls and that's where the frustrations come in.

Read more: Who learned more from draw?

McCarthy was sent off in the 24th minute and then watched as others guilty of committing broadly similar fouls were either yellow-carded or escaped with a free against them.

The black card sanction is a blunt instrument. And while it cuts through some cynical undergrowth, it's too crude to be just and fully effective.

Read more: Any spare ticket for the self-obsessed?

A 10-minute 'sin bin' would be sharper, cleaner and fairer, punishing a team for a period without being as severe on players.

McCarthy didn't deserve to miss 46 minutes of the All-Ireland final, especially when there's a better way to punish 'black card' offences. It's time this rule was re-visited.

Irish Independent

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