Brennan the latest voice against black card
Another leading inter-county footballer has spoken out against the proposed black card. Dublin defender Ger Brennan says: “You can’t look at a player now sometimes without getting booked.”
Just over a week since the Football Review Committee (FRC) amended its original yellow card proposal with the new black card, identifying five of the so-called cynical fouls that will result in the mandatory substitution of the offending player, Brennan fears the GAA is on the verge of removing all physicality from Gaelic football.
“They’re always trying to change the game around. What’s wrong with it? Some of the cynical stuff, like time-wasting, lads pulling each other down with rugby tackles, needs to be looked at. Didn’t they have a black book a few years ago, like getting a ticking? That was fine, I thought. Sometimes they try to over-complicate it for the players and for the referees.
“And you can’t look at a fella now sometimes without getting booked. I look at the hurlers, they very much tear into each other, and get on with it. But football has gone a bit like basketball at times, and how often do you see a fella hit a fella a shoulder and there’s not a free? They are taking the physicality out of the game, in my opinion.”
Brennan was speaking in Croke Park at the launch of the 2013 Dublin Spring Series, tickets for which are now on sale.
He admits that his concerns about the black card are primarily coming as a defender (he was, incidentally, also yellow-carded in Dublin’s O’Byrne Cup semi-final win over Louth on Sunday), but he feels that some referees are still being influenced by the crowd when it comes to such calls.
“Whatever about the pulling and dragging – I think that needs to be stopped, certainly – but in regards to a lad giving a good shoulder thump: what’s wrong with that? Many referees are blowing up for that and they’re giving rash bookings. A big hit is a part of the game.
Red card for a shoulder
“I remember a couple of seasons ago Marc Ó Se got a straight red card for a shoulder. I know it was rescinded but referees don’t know how to deal with it because they’re reacting to the crowd.”
Brennan, who has played at full back and centre back in their O’Byrne Cup campaign, is impressed by the physicality of the newer Dublin players. “Physically they’re more developed than previous minor and under-21s. I came up in 2003 and certainly wasn’t as developed as other lads, which is testament to the structure that is in place, the way it’s been done with Dessie Farrell and Jim on previous under-21 teams. It looks like they should be able to slip up the ladder easier, and come up to the physical levels that are needed.”
Dublin used 31 players in their four games to date, and Brennan reckons it’s their most competitive panel in years.
“When I came in, under Paul Caffrey, maybe that was more competitive for me. It depends at what stage of your career or development you are at. But whenever a manager introduces new players it keeps some of the senior lads on their toes. It only bodes well for the future.”
All five games in the Spring Series can be attended with a special €50 ticket package, or €13 for a single game: first up is the double bill opener on Saturday week, with confirmation that Dublin rock group Republic of Loose will provide the musical entertainment.
The full package is: Sat, Feb 2nd: Kildare v Donegal, 5.15pm, Dublin v Cork, 7pm; Sat, Mar 2nd: Dublin v Mayo, 7pm; Sun, Mar 10th: Kildare v Dublin, 2pm; Sat, Mar 16th: Dublin Hurlers v Limerick, 5.15pm, Dublin Footballers v Tyrone, 7pm; Sat, Mar 23rd: Dublin v Down, 7pm.