‘Don't ruin the game’: Ryan O’Dwyer against black card in hurling

“And no yellow or red cards either!”
‘Don't ruin the game’: Ryan O’Dwyer against black card in hurling

Ryan O'Dwyer. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Former Tipperary and Dublin hurler Ryan O’Dywer is opposed to the introduction of a black card in hurling.

Calls for the measure in hurling — which was introduced to stop cynical fouling in Gaelic football — got no support from O’Dwyer, who features in this Thursday’s Laochra Gael.

“No — and no yellow or red cards either!,” he laughed.

“Don’t ruin the game. The ’91 Munster final, when Tipp beat Cork, was on recently, and it was a man’s game. I don’t want anyone to cut the back off me for ‘hurling arrogance’, but there was hitting in it.

“It was a physical battle. As Dalo (Anthony Daly) would say, it’s ‘going to war’. That’s what it was.

I’ll give out about it anyway because I got sent off the whole time, but they’re turning it into basketball. It’s like a non-contact sport.

“I know that’s exaggerating a bit there. But it’s a lot closer to a non-contact sport now than it is to war. When you look at the games in the ‘90s and further back, I remember Conor Gleeson with blood pouring from his head and still playing.

“There was no one saying ‘the game is too physical.’ That’s being pushed out of the game now. If it was that bad back then, people wouldn’t have wanted to play the game.

“I know the game has changed, players are bigger. But refereeing the game with common sense is gone. They’re refereeing by the book.

“I’m the same in school. Rules are there for a guideline. Rules can be bent.”

O’Dwyer paid tribute to Irish Examiner columnist Daly, his manager with Dublin: “He is always there for me and yeah, I owe a lot to him, a lot to Richie Stakelum, Ciaran Hetherton, but Dalo above all of them, I would do anything for the man and I think he knows that and I think I have a good relationship with him anyway.

“And I know a lot of information about him, so I always have that on him anyway!”

O’Dwyer was disappointed with Dublin’s tactics at senior level this year, he added: “I was at the Kilkenny vs Dublin league game in Nowlan Park this year. I know a lot has happened since with lockdown, championship, whatever but I saw that as an opportunity for Dublin because Kilkenny were missing a few players.

“But there was no fight in them and they seemed very rigid in their hurling. What I mean by that is they had a game plan where they were going short with every puck out and even when it wasn’t working they did it again and again and again.

“It was like — in general play — ‘when I’m here I’ve got to get the ball to here and then the ball has to go to here before we’re allowed to take the shot’.

“For anyone who does play hurling, it is a game of madness. Sometimes, an organised game of madness. It is a game of instinct too, and I just think that if you’re too rigid in your style and you take the instinct away from the players, when something goes wrong, they nearly lose it and think too much about it.

“I certainly think that’s where Dublin are at the moment. They’re relying on a few players. Not that I’m doubting Mattie Kenny at all, I just don’t think the best players are playing in their best position.”

O’Dwyer would play Liam Rushe at number six, for instance: “He’s probably the best centre back — if not in the country then he’s certainly one of the best in the country. So, I’d have him centre-back.”

  • Laochra Gael is on TG4 on Thursday at 9.30pm.

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