GAA Football

Paddy Tally: New black card punishment better

Down manager Paddy Tally before the BOI Dr McKenna Cup semi-final between Down and Tyrone at the Athletic Grounds. Picture by Philip Walsh

THE new sin-bin punishment for black card offences is “a better punishment” than what had previously existed, believes Down manager Paddy Tally.

That’s in spite of finding themselves victim to it in Sunday’s McKenna Cup semi-final loss to Tyrone. The Mournemen had chopped an 11-point deficit down to five but then lost midfielder Johnny Flynn in the 61st minute to what Tally felt was a “very soft” black card.

It left them down to 14 men until midway through stoppage time, by which stage Tyrone had rebuilt their lead in what ended a nine-point victory for Mickey Harte’s side.

Even in its early weeks, the new black card punishment – namely a 10-minute sin-binning for the guilty player, with no replacement - has shown itself to be a more significant factor in games.

“It’s a massive impact on the game when you can’t replace the player,” said Tally.

“The way the game’s going, you lose a player in the modern game, it’s very difficult to play without it. It’s something we have to learn from.

“I think it is a better punishment. It’s more severe. The black card didn’t really mean an awful lot in the past because you’re able to put somebody back on the field. It’s sorer on the team that loses the man.”

Down were also caught out a bit by Flynn’s black card being allied to the stoppage time loss of Pierce Laverty to injury.

The GAA’s decision to reduce the number of subs allowed from six to five because of the change in the black card rule was unnecessary, Tally feels.

“With 12 minutes to go you’re thinking you need to get someone else game experience, and then you lose a man and you’re down to 14. It’s one of those things.

“It’s a strange thing reducing to five subs, the six subs was always quite good.”

He was glad to throw Donal O’Hare back into the fray for the second half ahead of the start of the Allianz League, but says that “it will be a while yet” before Connaire Harrison is fit.

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