Omagh gaffe makes Canavan more dubious about black card

Peter Canavan says David Coldrick’s mistake in Omagh on Sunday has backed up his concerns about the black card.

Peter Canavan

In awarding Tyrone a first half penalty, the Meath referee failed to issue Down’s Conor Maginn a black card despite him deliberately pulling Mark Donnelly to ground. It would have seen Maginn replaced but leave the field for the remainder of the game. However, he later scored a goal as Down fashioned a comeback before he was eventually shown the card for a cynical foul on Sean Cavanagh.

Former Tyrone star Canavan argues the new rule does nothing to assist referees who already have a difficult time of it. “I was sceptical about the black card from the start because I felt it was making the job of the referee more difficult and referees don’t need that at the minute and that’s the perfect example. This is a high profile game — you can imagine in club games there are a lot of referees who don’t believe in the idea of the black card to begin with, and I know some referees have claimed they don’t even bring a black card with them.

“The black card you need it to be consistent and applied to the letter of the law at county games and already we have seen that is not the case.”

GAA match official authorities yesterday refused to comment on the incident only to confirm it would be discussed at the next meeting of referees.

Following Mickey Harte, Canavan questioned why the advantage rule wasn’t played for the Maginn-Donnelly incident when Donnelly had found the net despite the foul. He had no issue with the decision to show a black card to Niall Morgan for a trip on Jerome Johnston, but was surprised a referee of Coldrick’s quality made the Maginn error.

“It was the first high profile game of the year and they put out the best man that they had in the hope it would pass without major controversy. The fact it was a draw has deflected from that a wee bit, but I have no doubt there would have been more uproar about it had Tyrone lost that game yesterday.

Tyrone’s saviour on Sunday Sean Cavanagh praised Coldrick as “a good referee” but felt there was always going to be difficulties with bedding in the black card.

“I always knew it was going to be like this. Championship football has that bite to it. There was too much at stake. You had 15,000 people watching on and it’s effectively what you train for six or seven months to do.

Meanwhile, there was confusion about two other decisions Coldrick made. In the first-half, he brought forward a Tyrone 45 by 13 metres and made it a free after Down encroached on the kick. However, a 45 is deemed a free and therefore it is understood he was correct to make the call.

Concerns have also been raised about the awarding of Cavanagh’s equalising free in injury time. Coldrick awarded a free for a Declan Rooney foul on Cavanagh as Stephen O’Neill prepared to take a sideline kick. As O’Neill had not kicked the ball, it was effectively dead but the decision doesn’t appear to have contravened any rule.

That being said, interpretations are likely to be sought by referees from the national committee.

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