Refs still getting their heads around the high tackle

Head high tackles are what the GAA have been keen to crack down on this summer but the application of the rule regarding them over the weekend left a lot to be desired.

Three similar incidents occurred in Tullamore, Waterford and Ennis and yet only one red card was shown. 

I’m not saying all three incidents merited red cards but Offaly’s Conor Mahon was the only player dismissed after Liam Gordon had spoken to his assistant Seán Cleere.

In Walsh Park yesterday, Shane Bennett was shown a yellow card for fouling Darragh O’Donovan. 

Fergal Horgan made his decision that it was a booking without consulting with his linesman Colm Lyons, who had a better view of the incident.

Later in the afternoon in Cusack Park and Noel McGrath picked up a yellow for doing the same to Peter Duggan. 

Alan Kelly made the call after speaking to Gearóid McGrath. 

Such inconsistency in addressing the matter is only going to lead to more confusion among players, management and supporters. 

It’s something referees will have to consider carefully if it’s not to blight games later in the summer.

Also in Walsh Park, Maurice Shanahan was extremely lucky to stay on the field for a wild pull. 

The problem was the whistle had gone and while Fergal did take his time to make his judgment and spoke to his umpires he got it wrong by issuing Shanahan a yellow. 

At least he made no mistake in sending off Pauric Mahony, who can have no complaints and will be disappointed with himself.

Fergal’s other yellow cards were correct decisions with the exception of Declan Hannon’s early booking - I felt he was harshly dealt with.

Noelie Connors’ yellow was right and his deliberate trip occurred outside the parallelogram so it wasn’t a penalty. 

There was a lot of careless use of the hurley and Fergal was on the spot in punishing that.

In the 29th minute, there was fierce indecision by the umpires in calling a point. 

This is something I’ve been discussing for a while now and the positioning of the umpires was poor. 

If you are to properly judge the flight of a ball you have to get behind the post. The idea of one umpire being a roving one just doesn’t work.

In Ennis, Alan didn’t take the advice from Cathal McAllister late on in overruling his umpires for waving wide a Tony Kelly free.

Maybe that had something to do with confidence and Alan not wanting to upset his men after last year’s ghost goal controversy.

This was Alan’s first Championship game in charge since that match in the Gaelic Grounds and in the first seven or eight minutes he let a lot go. 

Clare were denied a couple of early frees and Michael Breen technically could have seen the line for being the third man in but avoided it.

The yellow cards that were shown all looked the right calls although Donal Tuohy may have been shown red for putting his feet so high in trying to stop Patrick Maher’s goal. 

Had the ball not gone in, he mightn’t have been so fortunate.

In Tullamore on Saturday, Gordon did fairly well and he will probably get another game or two in the Joe McDonagh Cup as a result. 

On the matter of the Central Competitions Control Committee not issuing a ban to Davy Fitzgerald, I found it strange. 

Clearly, it wasn’t mentioned in the referee’s report and yet there is talk of him receiving a warning. 

Nobody has been luckier than him to avoid a ban these last couple of weekends.

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