Kerry clubs see red over black card rule

The chairmen of two rural Kerry GAA clubs have blasted the introduction of the new black card rule, which, they fear, will be detrimental to sides struggling for players.

The clubs, Valentia Young Islanders and Tuosist, have tabled motions to deal with dwindling numbers ahead of the Kerry GAA annual convention on December 9.

The motions request the option of playing 13-a-side games in 2014, however, it is the new black card rule — to come into effect from January 1 — that has really angered John O’Sullivan, chairman of Valentia, and his counterpart at Tuosist, Michael O’Sullivan.

“What are we going to do with the new black card rule?” asked John O’Sullivan. “We have often had the bare 15 for games, what will we do when one of our players is black-carded?

“We will be down a man. I think this rule should have been trialled at inter-county level first — the GAA weren’t thinking of small clubs when they brought this rule in.”

Michael O’Sullivan added: “This rule has been brought in from the top down unlike most rule changes in the GAA coming from club level. There has been no consideration for the smaller club — we will be decimated.”

Tuosist, O’Sullivan admitted, have been struggling in recent years to field at 15-a-side, hence the club’s motion to ask the CCC of Kerry GAA to examine the possibility of teams in Division 5 of the County League to have the option of playing 13-a-side. Tuosist were relegated to Division 5 this year after pulling out of Division 4 with three rounds left.

He explained: “Our problems started pre-Celtic Tiger so it’s not emigration that is hitting us — we just don’t have the numbers right now. We will in a few years, so this motion is all about giving our players the opportunity to play some games.”

Valentia’s John O’Sullivan was forthright in the reasoning behind his club’s motion asking for clubs to play 13-a-side if there is prior agreement between the two clubs and the county board. Valentia also play in Division 5 of the Kerry County League.

“We have maybe 16 or 17 players. It’s all about competing, so just let us compete. Give us the option of 13-a-side. There will be no surrender from us, we’ll keep competing but all we’re asking for is a little help.”

Valentia also have a motion asking: ‘That the County Board help small rural clubs to survive in these challenging economic times.’

O’Sullivan said: “I’m blue in the face from bringing this issue up. I want the GAA to show some leadership. We are just asking for some help from the GAA to try and bring some industry into our area: to get some work for players. Pat Spillane is heading up a committee at the moment and we want to see something positive coming out of that.”

Eleven Kerry clubs have brought forward 22 motions dealing with club competitions. These motions will be decided at the County Committee meeting on Monday, November 25.

Other motions include one from the Skellig Rangers club in Portmagee asking that minor league games be played as 11-a-side and that the pitch be shortened to allow same.

An Ghaeltacht have submitted three separate motions aimed at the earlier release of minor and senior inter-county players for county league and championship games.

The Rathmore club have proposed that “U17 players not be allowed play in any senior competition.”

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