Is it time to do away with the black card?

The black card was introduced by the GAA to deter cynical play but is it being correctly implemented?

There were none handed out in either of the All Ireland quarter-finals at the weekend, despite some instances that should probably have warranted it.

While in the qualifier between Kildare and Armagh Kildare goalkeeper Mark Donnellan appeared to take out Andrew Murnin off the ball.

The rule states that deliberately body-checking another player off the ball warrants a black card, however Donnellan saw yellow for this challenge.

Jim McGuinness highlighted the lack of enforcement of the rule over the weekend in his article for The Irish Times. McGuinness pointed to the incident in the first-half of the Kerry/Galway game, in which Shane Enright barged into Johnny Heaney off the ball.

Like Donnellan Enright was shown yellow. While he also points out a similar incident in the Armagh/Kildare game from the night before.

“We’re living a lie with the pretending that everything’s okay. Everything is not okay because in those two situations – at the business end of the championship – either the officials don’t know the rule or they don’t know how to detect and enforce it. Either way, it’s a very bad situation.

If you look at the Enright foul, Peter Crowley comes over and taps referee David Coldrick on the back, a wee bit of moral support. Enright gets the yellow and he taps the ref on the back because both players knew it was a black card and the referee didn’t? It’s incredible!”

Pat McEnaney was a guest on the We Are Ulster podcast a couple of months ago and spoke about the rule, and was honest about its failures, stating;

“if we don’t get it right, the Association, and fellas like myself, will have to have a wee think about it”.

What players, managers and players alike hate is inconsistency in applying the rules. What we have seen in so many games since the rule’s introduction are a series of baffling decisions and some star players banished from some big games.

As the All-Ireland Football Championship 1/4 finals draw to a close, is it time for a root and branch review of the card, or simply to get rid of it altogether?

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