Monday 11 December 2017

Black card farce has been a total and utter disaster

Tom Dempsey's Hurling Analysis

Tom Dempsey
Tom Dempsey

Eugene McGee reacted emotionally as Congress gave approval to the black card in 2013 which were were assured would be the saviour of Gaelic football when introduced in January, 2014.

I can only say at this point that the infamous sanction has brought tears to many eyes in the past couple of years, and no matter what statistics are trotted out relating to it's success I feel it has been an absolute disaster (as I felt it would when introduced). For me it must go now.

For the ordinary supporter the difference between a yellow, black and red is almost impossible to decipher, and for Lee Keegan who was odds-on for man of the match, footballer of the year and most likely an All-Ireland medal up to seeing the black, it is a form of justice that must be hard to swallow.

There is no way he should have been expelled from the All-Ireland final for the offence committed. To deal with somebody who straddles the line (as Keegan does), the ten-minute sin-bin as applied in rugby is the obvious answer, a simple solution. We even have some afficionados who think the dreaded black would be good for hurling. Give me strength.

Before I leave Saturday's replay I must compliment the much-maligned Mayo team for their refusal to die and hope like the rest of the country that their day will come. The condescending punditry from the Joe Brollys of this world is totally unwarranted.

One All-Ireland in a career doesn't give anyone the right to bury an honest, dedicated and hard-working group, and over the top criticism always sounds worse when delivered by a former player who should well appreciate how tough it is to make the breakthrough.

A sunny Wexford Park allied to a large crowd (Wexford's interest in hurling will never die) provided a splendid backdrop to two Senior hurling semi-finals on Sunday afternoon.

In the first Oulart added further credence to their title aspirations with a comprehensive victory over a game Ferns side. One thing that struck all over the field was their physical condition, and not for the first time a Garrett Sinnott-inspired spell spelt curtains for Mickey Laffan's side. The big Oulart man was involved with everything good in the red and black forward division and his almost telepathic combination with Nicky Kirwan again showed to devastating effect. Kirwan for his part has been the best finishing forward in the county for many years.

Oulart are playing a short game with Conor O'Leary's puck-outs being very calculated. They then mix this with a long ball towards Sinnott which changes the flow of play and causes the opposition a lot of problems.

Cloughbawn will have to play a high pressure game in the final to disrupt the Oulart flow but P.J. Dempsey's men will certainly bring a threat to the table having turned in a strong second-half display to see off Glynn-Barntown. For the Glynn men, defeat was heartbreaking having dominated the first 25 minutes but the period just before and after half-time proved decisive with the two goals seeing Cloughbawn have the edge to the end.

Glynn will have to lift themselves quickly for the football decider next week and the quantity of games has come hard and fast which presents a challenge for dual clubs. Cloughbawn too are still involved in both codes and Oulart's advantage is their sole focus over the next couple of weeks.

The who will be, who won't be, saga of the next hurling manager rumbles on with much speculation within the county. It is a position that needs to be considered carefully given its importance, but it is a pity that it hasn't been sorted at this stage to give the incumbent a chance to run his eye over the talent available in the local championships. One thing is for sure - managing can be a stressful and difficult job and we should all cut a little slack to people who dedicate their lives to these positions. People like Stephen Rochford.

Wexford People

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