GAA hoping to avoid another ‘black’ mark

In fairness to the GAA, the organisation has made efforts to improve the game of football as a spectacle. Many might disagree with the introduction of the black card but I believe it was done with the game’s best interests at heart.

  The latest rule to be introduced is the ‘mark’, which has existed in rugby and Australian Rules Football for a number of years. Basically, the GAA want to encourage spectacular high fielding in an effort to quell the tide of hand passing which many supporters are dead set against.

  The new rule means that a player who catches the ball cleanly from a kick-out on or past the 45-metre line will now have the option of calling a mark and taking a free-kick, or playing on immediately.

  Therefore, goalkeepers are encouraged to kick the ball into traffic rather than seeking a short pass to a corner-back in space, which should be a relief to anyone who witnessed the Connacht Final in Salthill this year!

  This is all well and good, but it comes down to referees and how they administer the game. The black card was a good idea…in theory. The extra card was introduced to eliminate cynical play and fouls designed to stagger the flow of the game. In reality, it causes mass confusion across the country and the inconsistency in which it is used is frustrating.

  It would be difficult to accuse the GAA of not listening to suggestions on how to improve football, but the enforcement of the laws of the game – new and old – needs attention too. It’s one thing introducing the ‘mark’ but if it serves to slow the game down or causes confusion then supporters of the game will still be complaining during the All-Ireland Final next September!