Hurling 2020 committee member Ollie Canning has backed calls for the introduction of the black card, claiming players are being too severely punished for innocuous fouls.
The former All Star is the latest voice appealing for a third card be introduced into the hurling rule book.
RTÉ’s The Sunday Game panellists Eddie Brennan and Dónal Óg Cusack believe the black card could be a valuable tool for referees, with the latter lamenting the increasing number of sending-offs.
The pair were incensed by the dismissal of Clare’s Jack Browne during Saturday’s All-Ireland hurling qualifier against Wexford, the Banner corner-back picking up two yellow cards early in the second half — the first offence on 38 minutes a relatively harmless foul on Liam Óg McGovern.
“We are seeing a lot of situations where the two yellows don’t merit a team going down to 14 men,” said Cusack. “Within the broader spectrum it is worth looking at the black card.”
GAA president Liam O’Neill last December expressed his desire for both codes to adopt the black card and former Galway hurler Canning says the black card would end the unjust punishment of players.
“When a player gets an innocuous first yellow card it does affect their game. If you pick up a second yellow card like Jack Browne did on Saturday for pulling down a man... for a team to go down to 14 players with two simple enough fouls is harsh, especially when you put it in the context of teams reduced to 14 men for a dangerous foul.
“It is a big penalty for a team to pay if it is two relatively simple fouls. There was nothing dangerous in what Jack Browne did and he wasn’t trying to injure anyone, by any stretch.”
Moreover, Canning maintains the black card would ease pressure on referees.
“The black card should be open for discussion as at least then the referee would have the option that if the player hadn’t committed a dangerous foul he could issue a black card and the team doesn’t pay a big price for a straightforward foul. Referees know looking at a game if a team is trying to play it in a good spirit and are doing their best to play within the rules. Other games may be robust and then referees will have to deal with that accordingly.”
Canning said the Hurling 2020 forum will explore the black card debate: “There is a survey online, open until the end of this month, which asks people to give their views on the future of hurling. The results of that survey will give us an indication if the appetite is out there to see the black card introduced.”
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