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The black card is here to stay in Gaelic Football and why the sin bin would not work

GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail gives his views.

Maurice Deegan black cards Lee Keegan Lee Keegan was shown a black card during the All-Ireland final Source: James Crombie/INPHO

IT SPARKED A fierce debate at the concluding stages of the All-Ireland senior football championship and is regarded as not fit for purpose by many observers.

GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail has acknowledged that there ‘has been a backlash’ but insisted that the black card is here to stay, when speaking at Croke Park yesterday.

“In some quarters there has been a backlash. You’ll get that with everything in the GAA from various commentators. The black card is there, it’s part of our rules.

“I don’t see any possibility of the black card suddenly being dispensed with because of one or two or even more incidents.

“I would accept that with the black card some of the commentary is fair because we do probably need to make sure it is properly implemented.

Maurice Deegan black cards Jonny Cooper Dublin's Jonny Cooper saw his All-Ireland final involvement end early Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“But as regards an abolition of it? No.”

And despite calls for a sin bin to solve disciplinary problems in Gaelic football, Ó Fearghail believes it could not be implemented properly at club level, due to the need for more match officials to police the sin bin area.

“I couldn’t see how we could operate a sin bin in my club, to be quite honest with you. The sin bin was looked at, it was thought through for quite an extended period of time.

“It has definite advantages and could work here on a pitch like Croke Park and Thurles. “It was found the last time in the research that it was almost impractical to operate at club level around the country.

“That was one of the major issues. There is a great strength being together in the GAA and if there’s for the county game, it’s there for the club game.

“If you have two local clubs operating, the black card is operated by the referee and that’s it. But if he has a sin bin, it’s timing and a lot more challenging (with) the number of officials (that are needed).”

What about the introduction of a TMO to assist referees who have to make split-second judgements on fouls?

Launch of GAA Purchase Power Aogán Ó Fearghail and Alan Brogan were appearing at the GAA Purchase Power launch in Croke Park yesterday Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

“You could never say no to anything and I couldn’t rule anything out but anything that slows down the movement of our game is not good,” stated Ó Fearghail.

“That could be officiating or it could be a TMO but I haven’t seen anything that would convince me the TMO would greatly add to it.

“Referees development and playing rules do examine all these options but at the moment it’s not something that I would see imminent on the horizon.”

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