Howlin appeals for patience in adjusting to black card rule


GAA presidential candidate Sheamus Howlin is appealing for patience from players and managers as he concedes there may be some teething problems with the black card rule during the Allianz National Football League.

Howlin, the former Wexford county board and Leinster Council chairman, accepts referees may get some calls wrong as the new Gaelic Football playing rules bed in.

He believes implementing the new rules will represent a “huge challenge” for the game’s top officials.

But Howlin, who is looking to succeed Liam O’Neill as GAA president, insisted there is an onus on players to ensure that they do not commit black card offences. “The referees feel that [National League] is where the tests are going to come and I’d have to agree with them on that,” he said.

“My view would be that for a young man after training for four or five years to get to a level of playing with your county team, it’s all about playing. You don’t want to be sitting on the sideline.

“You’ll think twice before you do something silly. No player will want to be sitting up on the bench. So I’m hoping it will work well and I think it will.”

Howlin is confident the new rules, proposed by the Football Review Committee and voted in at last year’s Congress, will improve Gaelic Football.

Split-second decision
“I was speaking to referees in Croke Park last Friday evening and it’s going pretty well. I think it will improve our game but it won’t be easy,” he said.

“We were shown things at a seminar – accidental and deliberate fouls – and in fairness to a referee, he has to make a decision in a split-second: was that deliberate or accidental?

“It won’t be easy and it’s a huge challenge for referees, and perhaps they’ll get it wrong on occasions. I would say to our players and mentors and officials, you have to allow for that. The game is going very fast and that split-second decision won’t always be easy.”