Biter: The GAA’s new Black Card is mighty welcome……

NewRules_Cards2014The introduction of the card is an attempt to take the cynicism out of hurling and football and the it will be shown for deliberate fouls, tripping an opponent , body checking a player after the ball has been played, directing abuse or gestures at other players and my favourite, abusing match officials.

Somebody has to stop the madness of referees being harried by players, when a decision goes against them, or when they don’t get the free or penalty, they think they deserve. Hopefully, the Black Card will add to the ref’s arsenal of options, but I think the authorities will have to add a Hannibal Lecter clause to the new rule.

jason whelan-ballymun-dublinOmerta, GAA style, was finally broken this week, when Dublin player, Jason Whelan, was banned for eight weeks for biting a DCU player and “inflicting injury recklessly.” It was appropriate that Whelan came out with his hands up, as a conspiracy of silence taints everyone on both teams and the county officials as well.”

But there’s another biter out there Clarice, who is really silent. Last April, player Patrick McBrearty, a Donegal player, was badly bitten on the arm in a match between Dublin v Donegal in Ballybofey and Luis Suarez and Mike Tyson were nowhere to be seen. GAA Supremo, Paddy Duffy was greatly angered by the incident.

“No one was proved to have inflicted the bite simply because no one admitted to having done so and because the player who was bitten decided not to attend a hearing on the case. The counties involved may have chosen to deal with this incident solely in terms of their own interests.”

This is in contrast to GAA President Liam O’Neill’s position stated earlier this week.

liam o neill gaa“If you don’t follow through, it really is better not to make it,(the allegation)” O’Neill said. “If you don’t follow through, it is very unfair to make it in the first place. There is a collective responsibility on players to follow through.” This seems to be letting county officials off the hook, firmly putting the onus on the players It sounds unfair to players, but it they’ve only themselves to blame. In every code, refs are now experiencing more aggro than ever before.

New York City is not exactly an obvious place to go looking for someone to come up with a way to help, so I was totally surprised, a few years ago, when chatting to an “Irish” cop” in New York he divulged that he was also a soccer referee. I arched my eyebrows at this unlikely revelation , until I realized I had overlooked the Latin factor, the huge communities of South Americans that love in the city.

“Those South Americans are tough” he told me .

“How tough?

“Tough enough that I had to wear my .38 in a holster around my calf.”

Now that’s a proper referee. Take no crap from anybody. Its outrageous to watch the behaviour of supposedly professional, premiership players, as they cluster threateningly around the referee, every time a free is awarded against them.

The stupidest thing of all though is the waste of energy expended in complaining. Maybe I missed it, but in my lifetime of watching football, I have never seen a referee reverse his decision in a premiership game. And still they persist, week after week, harassing and haranguing the ref and the Fourth official.

Managers often fan the flames in their post -match interviews, cribbing and moaning how they were playing against their opponents, plus the referee. This endorsement of anger directed at the ref, spills over into the dressing room and onwards onto the pitch. I have seen a ref looking genuinely frightened and I think there is more than a good chance that someday soon, one of these overpaid, hotheaded footballing cockerels, is going to stretch out the ref with a punch, or a Glasgow Kiss.

black cards5 in a rowSo before that happens, I think the premiership should experiment with arming the refs, maybe not as drastically as the New York cop with his .38 gun, but with something like a small Taser, or a cattle prod That would be ideal for the job. In fact they could take a leaf from the GAA’s book of rules and introduce the Black Card. The constant sacking of managers is bringing cynicism to new heights. Instability doesn’t help a team to knit very well , especially when you don’t know whether the manager is going to last longer than six months.

Sadly, the bad example of the loutish element of soccer millionaires has begun to infect the gentlemens’ game of rugby. The players are becoming increasingly mouthy with referees.
It must burn their buns that 100,000 a year is about as high as their salaries are going to go,. for playing in the maddest contact sport in the world, whereas the lowliest footballers in the premiership wouldn’t get out of bed for less than about 30,000 per week.

Hail The Corinthian spirit of the GAA.

Article Written by Shay Healy
First Published in The Irish Daily Mail,
Saturday 25th January 2014 
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About shayhealyblog

Shay Healy is a multi-media artist from Dublin Ireland, who has been in the music business all his life. His song “What’s Another Year”sung by Johnny Logan won the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest. He has written two musicals, The Knowledge and The Wiremen. As a television host, Shay is famous for a cult chat show, Nighthawks and on the other side of the camera, he has made over 12 documentary films, including “The Rocker-A Portrait of Phil Lynott” ,“First Lady”-A Portrait of Tammy Wynette ” and “Roy Rogers-King of The Cowboys. The Danny Boy Triangle (3 Books in 1) is now available to buy on Amazon
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1 Response to Biter: The GAA’s new Black Card is mighty welcome……

  1. Shay – how about insisting that all referees have to have black belts in Karate or some other martial art? Nah, the .38 is the best option!

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