Horan wants black card clarity to avoid ‘anarchy’

Mayo manager James Horan wants GAA referees’ chief Pat McEnaney to review the black card ruling before the National League begins to prevent “anarchy” taking place in matches.

Horan wants black card clarity to avoid  ‘anarchy’

The former All Star believes individual referees are interpreting the black card rule differently and in order to prevent “crazy” decisions being made in the league the matter must be addressed.

“I assume that is something the refs will do and Pat McEnaney will do,” he said after watching Kevin McLoughlin and Kevin Keane being sent to the line with black cards during his side’s 2-8 to 1-11 draw with IT Sligo on Sunday.

“They’ll have a look at how it went in the provincial competitions and sort of review it before National League and review it again then. I assume that’s the sort of process they’ll follow so hopefully it’ll calm down and there will be more reliability to the decisions.

“I agree with the black card system overall. I think it is good but the problem with it is, and we discussed this before it was implemented, the interpretation by referees and the two cards that we got today I thought were ... it was incidental contact. Certainly in the first one with Kevin McLoughlin’s.

“So this whole deliberate and what one ref thinks is deliberate and the next ref doesn’t think is deliberate is crazy. There was, I thought, three or four occasions where Sligo did exactly the same and it wasn’t a black card so you’ve no idea what’s a black card now and what’s not.

“It’s based on a referee’s interpretation and when that’s the case, anarchy follows. We don’t want to be talking about, in the summer, black cards as opposed to football. We just need to be very, very careful.”

That variance in the interpretation of the rule makes it difficult to prepare teams and he thought some of the decisions made by Leitrim’s Ray McBrien were baffling.

“It is but that’s like normal football because you’re always trying to tell fellas how to tackle and one ref could be different to another ref,” he said.

“There’s always that variability there but you prepare as best you can for the rules that are written down and hope that refs will apply it logically but I thought today’s were crazy. We’re in danger if it is reffed like that. Like I said before, I put in the caveat that the black card is a good system but if it is reffed like that it is going to lead to bother.”

However, he also accepted his side had a lot of work to do. Just back from their team holiday in Dubai, he believes they are behind other teams’ preparations and it showed on Sunday.

“Yeah, we have a heavy workload. Like I say, we are trying to catch up ground so that would be a bit of it but it is awful easy to say that but, look it, we snuck out a draw so we’ll take it and move on. The FBD is about finding out a few things about a few players and we’re doing that each day.”

Meanwhile, IT Sligo manager and former Mayo player Michael Moyles lauded Ballina Stephenites corner forward Evan Regan for his contribution on Sunday. The Mayo U21 player had been part of James Horan’s squad until midway through last season.

“Evan is a great footballer. We’re working with him well in the college. He was part of the Mayo panel, he’s not anymore and he’s disappointed with that but he’s focused on what he has to do. Two weeks to Jordanstown is the big focus at the moment and him along with the rest of the team worked very hard for each other today.”

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