The black card/sin bin in hurling is as dead as a dodo, but the GAA has not yet given up on getting rid of the maor foirne.
A considerable 83% of Congress delegates in Croke Park on Saturday rejected the sin bin applying in hurling to counter cynical play. And the lack of a speaker for the motion apart from proposer — playing rules chairman David Hassan — has convinced GAA president John Horan not to return to addressing cynicism in hurling.
The extent of the defeat, failing to receive a third of Congress’ support, means the black card in hurling can’t be debated for another three years. That might have been avoided had it been withdrawn, but Horan identified little support for the measure.
“That largely kicks it into touch,” he said.
“We had been approached by the committee to see would I allow it to go back for further consideration, and I said I would if there was any element of support on the floor for the actual move.
“There was meant to be a bit of support there, but it never materialised, so it is very hard to rule a referral for something when nobody on the floor spoke in favour of it, so dare I say it — the sin-bin in hurling is binned.”
However, Horan sounded a more positive note about disbanding the role of the maor foirne and tweaking the advantage rule in scoring areas after both playing rules committee motions fell agonisingly shy of the required 60% support for it to become a rule.
The proposal to amend the advantage rule would see referees give frees in or within the 45-metre line in football and in or within the 65m in hurling instead of advantage unless they considered a goal opportunity would develop.
Horan said of those narrow disappointments for the Playing Rules Committee: “You’d have to feel sorry for the committee to hit 59% twice. How many votes were involved in that 1% difference?
“If something hits 59, you have to revisit it at the next opportunity that you get. When people see that it was 59, I think it will firm up their opinion. It could become more decisive after that.”
Without trial, Kildare club Raheen’s football motion to prevent a player from returning the ball to the goalkeeper after he receives it was backed into becoming a rule on Friday evening. It’s an idea Horan floated last year when he highlighted there was an average of 10 back passes to the goalkeeper per game in 20 Allianz League matches analysed last year.
Following Saturday’s Congress, Central Council confirmed it will come into action in four weeks’ time, but will not apply to the league’s divisional finals. It is possible that teams will find a way around it by getting their defenders to kick the ball out to their goalkeepers, but the wording of the rule still has to be drafted completely.
“It (the motion) uses terms like ‘a pass back’ as opposed to return, which might be a better word,” admitted GAA director general Tom Ryan.
“There’s a small bit of refinement that we will do to make it a bit easier for referees.”
Horan, though, doesn’t believe sides will try and take the risk to circumvent the motion as it currently reads.
“I don’t think teams in a game would engage in the risk factor of a defender kicking it to the goalkeeper. Who’s actually going to cover the goal?
“Suddenly your goalkeeper is now outside the ‘D’. With the kick-out going to the 20m line and the ‘D’ becoming involved now, the keeper is a good way from his actual rightful position.”
The Playing Rules Committee was successful in tweaking the advanced mark rule so that a player choosing not to claim it in the large or small rectangle can be tackled immediately.
After Congress agreed there would be no relegation in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship this year, there remains the possibility Kerry could be the sixth team in the competition in 2021, should they win the Joe McDonagh Cup.
Although the motion from the Leinster Council stipulates Kerry, as McDonagh Cup winners, would play off against the lowest team in the Munster SHC, it is understood Leinster would be agreeable to accepting Kerry into their competition.