Dublin chief Costello calls for introduction of black card in hurling

CEO backs split season but believes intercounty game should be played first in 2021

Dublin GAA chief executive John Costello has called for the introduction of the black card into hurling. Writing in his annual report for next Wednesday's annual convention, he refers to the big defeat sustained by the proposal when it was brought to last February's annual congress.

“It has been obvious for some time, long before this congress rebuttal that a well-meaning constituency of hurling stakeholders (players, managers, officials and supporters) are staunchly opposed to the introduction of the black card.

“Perhaps they view football and hurling as two very distinct games that shouldn’t automatically be viewed through the same rule book prism – and they have a point. But perhaps some of them also possess a slightly misty-eyed view of the ancient game . . .

“Cynicism exists in every team sport; it is more likely to be prevalent at the elite level, too, unless there are sufficient sanctions that render it damaging to your team’s prospects. We have seen what you might term flagrant ‘black card’ offences in hurling on numerous occasions, and several times in this year’s championship too.


“The rugby-tackle pull-down that coughs up a free – and a relatively worthless yellow card – is the most recurring and frustrating one, especially when one team is defending a lead and hell-bent on avoiding the concession of a goal. Would you see less of this particular type of foul if the punishment was ten minutes in the bin? We suspect so.”

In a customarily wide-ranging report, he also expresses support for the split season, which was used this year to manage the return to play after the coronavirus lockdown last spring but proposes that the intercounty season should come first in 2021.

“There won’t be a pandemic every year – we hope! Going forward, it makes far more sense to run off all county activity first in a condensed window – finishing, let’s say, in mid-July – before the focus switches to our club championships. Let’s not forget, club league fixtures can still go ahead in spring and early summer, offering regular match exposure for the playing majority.”

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times