Two yellows for price of one black
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).