Two 'joke' yellow cards should not equal red, insists Keady
Galway hurling legend Tony Keady has called for a rethink on the rule decreeing that two yellow cards must automatically lead to a player's dismissal.
Keady, the Hurler of the Year in 1988, believes the penalty to be too punitive for what often amounts to two technical infringements and he was particularly incensed by the recent sending-off of Kilkenny's Tommy Walsh during a league clash with Tipperary in Thurles.
Keady's comments run contrary to a mounting chorus of unease over what has been seen as an increasingly laissez-faire approach to inter-county refereeing, particularly in the latter stages of recent championships.
A selector with his county's U-21s this year, Keady was among some members of the senior All-Ireland-winning teams of '87 and '88 that led Sunday's St Patrick's Day parade in Galway city. Afterwards, the players convened for a meal and Keady insists that a number of referees present supported his opinion on the yellow cards.
"I've been talking about this for months because I'm just absolutely fuming over it," he said. "My argument is that the moment a fella gets a yellow card now, he may as well be taken off.
"I think it'd be much fairer that a fella could get two yellows, then management could make the decision, 'Hold on here, if he sneezes we're down to 14 men.'
"Just give them the time to make that call. I've yet to meet anyone, referees included, who disagrees with what I'm saying."
Walsh was sent off against Tipp for a second yellow, a punishment Keady (above) firmly believes his infringement did not warrant.
"Everyone I spoke to in Galway was tempted to knock off the television after seeing what he was sent off for," reflected Keady. "Tommy Walsh to me is one of the finest wing-backs of all time and to see that man going off the last day for nothing... I don't know, it's ruining the game for me.
"What did he get sent off for? A little kind of a flick? The referee probably thought it was dangerous with the one hand. But he just went to flick the ball. To me, Tommy Walsh goes out to play hurling the way it should be played.
"And you know that Brian Cody wants to talk about these refereeing decisions, but he can't. These yellow cards are gone beyond a joke."