GAA Football

Bin the black card - Mickey Harte

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte says he would bin the black card immediately  

TYRONE boss Mickey Harte says he would bin the black card “right now” after two of his players missed out on the chance of playing a full part in last month’s Ulster final win over Donegal.

Speaking at Tyrone’s press briefing in Garvaghey on Monday morning, Harte believes there are more negatives than positives relating to the controversial black card since it came into effect two seasons ago. Mattie Donnelly and Cathal McShane were high-profile casualties of the black card in the opening half of Tyrone’s provincial decider against Donegal.

“It is very disconcerting to see that people could lose out on such a big day and your team could lose as well,” said Harte, who is preparing Tyrone for Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final joust with Mayo at Croke Park.

“We were fortunate that the players did not lose their Ulster medals over it.”

The post-match consensus was that referee David Coldrick was wrong to black-card Donnelly and McShane, both of whom were making their first appearances in an Ulster final: “Even Cathal McShane's as well, where he was obviously trying to protect himself. There was absolutely no intent for him to trip anybody and anybody reviewing that would know," said Harte.

“Those decisions that happen could be very hurtful for a player and they could lose something very special in their career over it. It is something that needs tending to.”

Asked would he like to see the black card binned over the coming seasons, the Glencull man replied: “I would be a very biased person to ask about that. I would bin it right now.

“I am not saying that there are not certain instances where it has not helped, there is less deliberate body-checking, but a yellow card would have dealt with that as well.”

Harte added: “I really did not see the value in it and it adds another degree of difficulty to the job of referees.

“I might never sound like I am sympathetic to referees, but I do understand the difficulty of what they have to do in ‘live’ time. Why add another dimension of difficulty to that, when what attracts a black card now was always a yellow card material anyway?”

The fact teams are not able to immediately appeal black cards merely adds to Harte’s frustration: “A new rule came in that you have to accumulate three before you can appeal any,” he said.

“That it is about as ridiculous as the introduction of the black card. I just don't understand it.”

Mattie Donnelly (left) on the field of play before being harshly black-carded in last month's Ulster decider

Harte confirmed Ronan O’Neill and Mattie Donnelly have recovered from bouts of concussion suffered during recent club games and are available for Saturday’s intriguing showdown with Mayo. Omagh's Joe McMahon returned to club action after a 15-month injury lay-off, but is unlikely to make Tyrone’s 26-man squad this weekend.

Conor Meyler is also on the mend after hamstring trouble: “There is nothing now that would preclude him [Meyler] from the squad,” confirmed Harte.

After the Tipperary footballers secured their All-Ireland semi-final berth by blitzing Galway last weekend, Harte described their surprise advance to the latter stages as part of “the beauty of sport”: “There can only be one winner of the All-Ireland, but there can be a lot of people who feel like winners in the course of a season because they’ve moved themselves to a place way beyond where the majority of people would have anticipated,” he said.

“There are lots of teams that will have a serious feel-good factor about them, regardless of what happens now. This has been a big, big year for Tipperary.”

Tipperary, managed by Kerry native Liam Kearns, await the winners of Saturday’s clash between Mayo and Tyrone.

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