The new rules which will, we hope, bring about improved discipline in Gaelic Football, represent a welcome departure for the Gaelic Athletics Association, which held its annual Congress in Derry last weekend. From personal recall, the verbal abuse subjected to referees at junior fixtures, in both hurling and football, represent a side of our national games we could all do without.
And, given the introduction of the Black Card, it would appear that delegates have also had their fill of the ‘pulling and dragging’ and professional fouling that has so long plagued Gaelic football. Most observers of Gaelic Games are familiar with the long wait to see what’s been included in the referee’s notebook, the contents of which have almost attained mythical status.
In essence, if the referee fails to take of note of foul play which thousands of supporters inside a stadium and multiples of that number watching on TV witness, then the incident has, officially, never occurred. For too many years it’s been a case of ‘hear no evil, see no evil’.