Defenders not the chief culprits, insists Eoin

Cork’s Eoin Cadogan believes defenders have been unfairly depicted as the chief offenders in the run-up to the black card’s introduction and warned that forwards will have more difficulty adapting to the new rules.

The Douglas defender was part of a Rebel backline that rarely needed to skirt the border of illegality in containing LIT in Sunday’s McGrath Cup encounter in Mallow as the county side ran out 24-point winners.

Time was almost up before referee Pádraig O’Sullivan flashed the black card at Cork’s Micheal Ó Laoighaire and LIT’s Con Prendeville but Cadogan has taken issue with the general assertion that the move is there to protect the game’s ‘top’ players.

“I would have heard a lot of high-profile forwards coming out and saying that alright, that it would protect the classy players, but I would find that a bit offensive. Are they saying that defenders aren’t?

“There is a great skill in being able to tackle and hold top-class forwards scoreless so it has to be both ways. It has been a lot more forwards than defenders pulling guys down like that.”

There was on average less than one black card per game over the first weekend of inter-county action and Cadogan is hopeful the educational approach the Kerry whistler took two days ago continues long into the New Year.

“It was trial and error. To be fair to the referee that we had for the LIT game he spoke back to us, he explained how close we were to the edge of receiving one or not and he was using common sense.

“That’s what’s probably going to have to prevail throughout the year. If you pull a player to the ground that is a black card and we all know that, but there are other aspects to the game too like if you completely take a guy off the ball.

“Your job as a defender is to stop a forward from scoring. I don’t think it’s possible to do that by just using your body and not being able to put a hand in and get the ball. I guarantee you throughout the summer that it will be more forwards getting black cards than defenders because defenders can tackle, forwards can’t.

“How many times have we seen it — in last year’s All-Ireland final Mayo men [were] being dragged to the ground so that is fine.”


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