Off The Fence

Off The Fence: The black card must go!

Readers have had enough of the black card. Picture by Seamus Loughran

IN just three years, the black card has been added to the exclusive list of things that will make a Gaelic footballer cry.

Births, deaths, a shoulder from Fergal Doherty and seeing John Coffey in the electric chair at the end of The Green Mile were previously the only known causes (I was only young when I saw it, ok).

The violins were out in force nine minutes into Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final as Tipperary’s young centre-back Robbie Kiely was told his game was over after committing his first foul of the day.

His county’s first appearance in an All-Ireland semi-final since the 1930s, who knows if they’ll ever make it back. Little wonder he had his hands over his face in distress as he left the pitch.

A loyal reader ‘Bridgie’ from county Meath is in the same boat as many, believing that the inconsistency of its application should see the black card scrapped.

“Watching the first of the All-Ireland senior football semi-finals as a neutral last Sunday, I could not but feel sorry for Tipperary player Robbie Kiely on his early black card. Maybe it was a correct decision by David Coldrick but the continuous lack of consistency by referees is a major irritation for players, management and supporters.

“Some players suffer while others guilty of equally serious, and something more serious, offences got off. While the assistance of linesmen and umpires can be a plus factor, sometimes they use too much influence. With such a lack of consistency on the apart of officials, perhaps the black card should be scrapped. The sin-bin has worked well in other sports and could be worth a try in men's Gaelic football.”

CO’K: There’s no need for a black card. There’s no need for a sin bin. There never was. That little thing called a yellow card is the answer to all of our problems.

On Twitter, the debate raged. ‘Stephen’ said: “It’s very frustrating, even more so at club level, the inconsistencies would drive you insane.”

‘Joe’ added: “It’s ruining games at all levels and frustrates the life out of players, supporters etc.”

And while the black card has been praised in many quarters for eradicating the bodycheck from Gaelic football, ‘Damien’ doesn’t agree: “I actually think the blocked run is still regularly ignored. The Dubs are the kings, especially James McCarthy.”

CO’K: Dublin are indeed the masters. Keep an eye on Sunday for how often an attacker blocks off the attempted tackle of a Kerry defender.

On the action in Croke Park last weekend, ‘Vman313’ wasn’t impressed with Mayo’s display.

“If Mayo play like that in September their experience will be over quickly. Poor standard of football. The Dubs and Kerry are hardly shaking.”

And an ‘Anonymous’ caller gave her succinct views on Mayo’s hopes of breaking their All-Ireland final curse.

“On today’s showing, Tipperary will win an All-Ireland before Mayo do.”

CO’K: Maybe, as long as they remembered to stop at any funerals they passed on their way home.

On to matters other and the news that Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is seeking the addition of another year to his term in charge, having been in charge since 1956.

One texter, though, believes that they should look to the example of the Mayo side that vanquished them a few weeks ago.

“I see Mickey Harte is looking another year with Tyrone. I think it’s time he finished his two-year contract and gave someone new a chance. Look at Mayo - new manager, same players, they’re now in an All-Ireland final.

“He has done his job for nearly 15 years. This past two years our forwards have let us down in Croke Park. Most of them are far too small. It’s time for new ideas and a plan B because plan A is not going to work all the time.”

CO’K: Mickey Harte should go when Mickey Harte wants to go.

On Facebook, ‘Marc’ queries Philip Jordan’s Allstar selection.

“Is there only one team in Ulster? No room for McGlynn, McManus, Darren Hughes, McKernan, MacNiallais? McManus in the top 3 forwards in Ireland and can't make this team.”

CO’K: Philip picked 14 of the same 15 I’d gone for. Man clearly knows his football.

"Janko makes Efe Ambrose look good" says one Celtic supporter.

On to matters Irish League and after a modest start to the season, ‘Reds Man’ is calling for a change of manager at Solitude.

“I know the season has just started but it's already obvious to Cliftonville fans that changes are needed on the sideline if the Reds are to avoid another League flop. I don't want to be accused of being unfair or jumping the gun but Cliftonville's dismal start is a continuation of last season's poor League form and most of the fans want change.

“Gerard Lyttle is a nice fella and a good coach but he is not a manager. The players are just not doing it for him and while some of them need a good shake a new manager with League experience is now a must. We require a more ruthless manager who gets angry at the players, who shows emotion on the sidelines and who isn't afraid to drop the big names. It's time for change at Solitude.”

CO’K: Tommy Breslin had no “league experience” when he took over, and he left with two league titles.

And, lastly, after the wild midweek celebrations in Israel at Celtic’s best ever 2-0 defeat against a team with actual Beer in its name, ‘Celtic supporter’ fears for their Champions League group stage fate.

“How Celtic got through after that performance I do not know. I don’t know yet what sort of a manager Brendan Rodgers is, but he’s a very lucky one. I don’t know where he gets some of these players from. Janko, I lost count of how many mistakes he made. He would make Efe Ambrose look good.”

Off The Fence

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