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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

No change with black card, says the man on the end of last year's most talked-about tackle

The stats show higher scoring but Monaghan’s Conor McManus says it’s as hard as ever to get away from defenders.

Cavanagh's cynical tackle on McManus hastened the welcome for the black card rule.
Cavanagh's cynical tackle on McManus hastened the welcome for the black card rule.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CONOR MCMANUS, THE Monaghan player who was ‘rugby tackled’ by Sean Cavanagh last summer, says the black card has not really changed Gaelic football.

Cavanagh’s cynical foul in the All-Ireland quarter-finals caused uproar and hastened the welcome for the new rule which came into play on 1 January.

The change has led to higher scoring in the league this season, according to statistics released by the GAA last week, as defenders are not willing to risk being ordered off.

“To be honest I haven’t found a real major difference,” McManus said.

At the start there was all this talk about the black card, and maybe defenders were afraid of getting put off early, but as the league went on the black card became less relevant. Teams went out and played as they would normally.

“In the Championship I think it could have less and less of an impact. There could be an odd tackle somewhere that will get a black card but overall it’s sort of levelled itself out at this stage.

“I don’t think I’m getting any more more freedom than I was last year. If anything it seems to be even harder to get away from these defenders.”

Conor McManus Conor McManus was speaking at the launch of the GAA Go Games yesterday. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

McManus had the goal in his sights when he was pulled down by Cavanagh outside the square last summer.

Tyrone went on to win the game by two points and McManus says that even under the new rules, some players will see the black card as a punishment worth taking in high-stakes games.

There’s also the potential for players to try to exploit any loopholes by dragging players back, rather than down, and therefore avoiding a black card.

“If it is late on the last five minutes [an attacker] will probably still get taken down and that’s it. The player will take his black card and that’s it.

But if it’s early on in the game, you are not going to want to miss 60, 65 minutes of a Championship semi-final or quarter-final or whatever it is. I think it will iron out a few things like that.

He added: “It’s like every other rule. You will always try and find a way around it. I suppose it has been documented that it has been done earlier on in the league.

“It’s like everything else. You do what you have to do to try and win and if there is a way around it, I’m sure teams and managers will find it.”

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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