Two yel­lows for price of one black

Irish Examiner - Sport - - OPINION -

Thirty red cards in 44 foot­ball league games may not sound like a lot but then con­sider 11 were shown in last week­end’s 12 games.

Why? Of the ref­er­ee­ing we have seen thus far, there wouldn’t ap­pear to be any new di­rec­tive given to of­fi­cials. Other than the new 20m rule for kick-outs, there haven’t been any changes to the game so that can’t be cited ei­ther.

The ear­lier than usual start to the sea­son would ap­pear to be a con­trib­u­tory fac­tor. This time last year, teams would have only played their sec­ond-round game. Now, the ma­jor­ity of them have three be­hind them over con­sec­u­tive week­ends. When fit­ness lev­els are roughly at 70% of what they will be in the sum­mer, fa­tigue this past week­end may have played its part in at­tempts to tackle. That would tally with the ma­jor­ity of the red cards shown be­ing dou­ble yel­low card of­fences with many of the sec­ond cau­tion­able fouls be­ing com­mit­ted in the clos­ing stages of games. Hav­ing said that, black cards are notably down with play­ers, it seems, now be­ing coached to cyn­i­cally foul twice if they have to. The drag back is now con­sid­er­ably more pop­u­lar than the drag down and doesn’t prompt an au­to­matic sub­sti­tu­tion and, while the body check is no longer as prom­i­nent, play­ers are step­ping across op­po­nents to ar­rest their progress while en­sur­ing they aren’t black carded.

Di­vi­sion 1: R1: 4 (Mon­aghan 2, Done­gal 1, Ty­rone 1). R2: 3 (Kerry 2, Dublin 1). *R3: 3 (Mayo 2, Gal­way 1). *Three games.

Di­vi­sion 2: R1: 0. R2: 2 (Cork 1, Down 1). *R3: 5 (Cork 2, Clare 1, Roscom­mon 1, Tip­per­ary 1). *Three games.

Di­vi­sion 3: R1: 6 (Wex­ford 2, Derry 1, Fer­managh 1, Of­faly 1, West­meath 1); R2: 1 (Wex­ford 1).

*R3: 1 (Longford 1). *Two games

Di­vi­sion 4: R1: 0. R2: 2 (Antrim 1, Water­ford 1).

R3: 3 (Wick­low 2, Leitrim 1).

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