O’Neill: Black card message working

The message that black cards are not worth picking up is getting through to teams, according to GAA president Liam O’Neill.

O’Neill: Black card message working

The Laois man only returned yesterday morning from a four-day trip to the US where he was attending a series of events in Buffalo and New York city.

However, he has been enthused by reports confirming for the second weekend running a relatively low number of black cards have been issued in pre-season competitions.

“People knew what they were getting into; people voted 70/30 to bring it in and they voted it in because they wanted the effect it would have to happen.

“Based on the numbers of the cards, I think it proves that doing these fouls just isn’t going to pay.

He admitted: “You’re always worried and nervous as an administrator that something may not work. The FRC (Football Review Committee) did this. They’re a solid bunch of citizens.

“Their record is there in the game. They are all serious GAA coaches and players. They came up with this and people came through.

“I have no doubt it will be a success and a continued success. It’ll have a positive effect on the game, I have no doubt.”

Strong GAA personalities such as former All-Ireland managers Mick O’Dwyer and John O’Mahony have aired concerns about the rules not being introduced on a trial basis.

However, O’Neill stressed they had been experimented with under a different guise with the yellow card automatic substitution in 2010.

He said: “I bet as the games go on, when one of these fouls happens, the crowd will known immediately. When a foul happens like someone dragging an opponent down, people will know that’s a black card.”

As for whether more cynical fouls may be added to the black card list on top of the current deliberate trip, pull down and body-check, O’Neill said: “I think what’s there at the moment is enough for the moment. I don’t think there’s any great appetite for more. What’s there is solid. Those three fouls are better off out of the game.”

Meanwhile, Munster Club senior football champions Dr Crokes return to the scene of the 2012 All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Crossmaglen for their last four clash with Castlebar Mitchels on Saturday February, 15.

Portlaoise’s O’Moore Park will be the venue for the clash, while St Vincent’s face Ballinderry in the other semi-final on the same day in Newry’s Páirc Esler.

Na Piarsaigh meet Portumna a week earlier in Thurles, which will have a 5pm throw-in. Leinster winners Mount Leinster Rangers’ clash with Loughgiel Shamrocks has been scheduled for Newry at 3pm. All four games will be shown live by TG4 but the latter hurling semi-final is set to clash with Ireland’s second Six Nations game against Wales in the Aviva Stadium, which kicks off at 2.30pm. Liam O’Neill was speaking at the launch of the GAA’s partnership with the Blood Tranfusion Service. The “It’s In Your Blood” campaign will encourage GAA members to give blood through interaction and promotion at club level including hosting blood donation clinics at their clubhouses.

* AIB All-Ireland SHC and SFC semi-final fixtures:

February 8: Loughgiel Shamrocks (Antrim) v Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow), Newry 3pm; Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) v Portumna (Galway), Semple Stadium 5pm.

February 15: Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) v Dr Crokes (Kerry), Portlaoise 3pm; St Vincent’s (Dublin) v Ballinderry (Derry), Newry 5pm.

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