Tuesday 22 October 2019

Rules group have no plans in place to adjust black card regulations

Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin is shown a black card during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin is shown a black card during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The GAA's Standing Playing Rules committee have no plans to make adjustments to the black card in the wake of the furore over aspects of the manner in which Dublin closed out last month's All-Ireland football final against Mayo.

Ciaran Kilkenny was black-carded for hauling down Lee Keegan while two other Dublin players restrained their direct opponents in the same passage of play as Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke attempted to get his last kick-out away.

It prompted a delay and as Clarke's kick-out eventually went over the sideline Dublin were able to manage the game to the finish.

The group's chairman Jarlath Burns has admitted the issue of strengthening the black card penalty has been suggested but his body were not in the business of something "knee-jerk on the basis of cynicism in the last five or 10 minutes of an All-Ireland final." A free awarded from close range following a black card looks to be gaining momentum. This rules committee, which introduced the mark earlier this year, wraps up its work in February and it's something their successors may look at, he suggested.

"What the black card is is a temperament sanction and it deals with the actual player himself having to prepare his temperament to make sure he doesn't carry out any of the infractions that we see," said Burns.

"I remember reading a book featuring Joe McDonagh (former GAA president) speaking in it. It was 1997 that the book came out. I took a photo of his comment and he said there was too much pulling and dragging in the game, too many stoppages and we needed to deal with it. I think that, by and large, we are dealing with it. It is going to be hard to eradicate in a game where aggression is such a part of it. It's going to be very, very hard to eradicate it fully but I think the game is better as a result of changes that have been brought in."

One of the changes his group has introduced will now force the kick-out to cross the 20 metre line while still travelling 13 metres. The rule passed at Saturday's Special Congress with 82 per cent support with Dublin launching the stiffest defence, their delegate Mick Seavers suggesting it will "punish those who want to play ball" by condensing the landing area too much.

But Burns insists the kick-out will be only "slightly riskier" as a consequence and said it was being proposed to encourage more long kick-outs. But he doubts if a move to force the kick-out across the 45 metre line is imminent.

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"I don't think it is really because, if you think about it, there would be no incentive then for the forward facing his goal to stay in his position," he said.

"I think (45 metre kick-outs) would change the shape of the game and that's something that we did look at. You have to be very careful that you don't turn the game into something that is contrived or you don't end up with unintended consequences. It is, maybe, something that could be trialled at a later stage but it's not something that we have planned. It was a bridge too far."

"I understand what Michael Seavers was saying, that you are limiting the space that a goalkeeper has to kick the ball out but, again, what we have found is, if you are reasonable as opposed to radical you will get things through Congress."

Irish Independent

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