Jamie Clarke unimpressed by the increasing simulation in Gaelic football

Armagh forward claims defenders resorting to underhand tactics to get him sent off

Jamie Clarke: “I just think the game is less physical if you know what I mean, you’re nearly afraid to go in for certain tackles.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Jamie Clarke: “I just think the game is less physical if you know what I mean, you’re nearly afraid to go in for certain tackles.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Armagh forward Jamie Clarke has claimed that simulation is a growing problem in Gaelic football and that he will have to adapt his game to prevent defenders catching him out.

The 2017 All-Star nominee missed last weekend’s Allianz League defeat to Meath after being red carded for an alleged strike during their round two draw with Clare.

Clarke argued at a Central Hearings Committee meeting that he accidentally hit the Clare player in the chest with a flailing arm and that the player went to ground holding his face.

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney similarly claimed after that game that Clarke appeared to have been dismissed ‘for what looks like a man just holding his face and going down’.

The CHC upheld the proposed sanction, however, and Clarke admitted a separate dismissal during last month’s McKenna Cup also arose from him being naive while tackling.

“I tackled him and I was kind of like, ‘get up off the ground’ because I had hit him in the chest and why I was appealing was because he went down holding his face, so I was like, ‘what are you doing?,’” said Clarke of the incident against Clare.

As for his red card during the McKenna Cup last month, Clarke claimed that he was wronged on that occasion too.

“I got two yellows in one of the games in the McKenna Cup and it was just from that going in with the arm and players grabbing you and jumping to the ground,” he said. “It’s just players being cute.”

The 29-year-old, who played for New York in last year’s Championship, said he suspects that opposition defenders are deliberately targeting him now.

“I would say that they are aware of it now from the last couple of years, that ‘if he throws the arm out, go down’, or whatever,” said the Crossmaglen man. “It’s for me to be aware of that type of thing going forward.”

Clarke said he likes the physicality of traditional GAA tackling and collisions and that he won’t be joining in the simulation.

“I don’t think I’ll do that, no,” he said. “I just think the game is less physical if you know what I mean, you’re nearly afraid to go in for certain tackles. Even with the black card, you can get done for a black card in the first five minutes for making a genuine effort to go for the ball so you just have to be wary of it.”

An issue

Clarke said he wouldn’t be against a yellow card for simulation being introduced, like in soccer.

“It’s possibly a way of getting rid of it,” he said. “Look, it’s not something I want to drag on about, or chat about over and over again. I don’t want to be seen to be overly complaining about it but I do think it’s an issue to be honest.

“It’s even difficult trying to chat to the referees about ‘what’s your reason?’ I find that very difficult, they don’t want to have a conversation with you on the pitch and it can be frustrating.”

Clarke said last weekend’s game between Dublin and Kerry was an example of how the game should be played.

“That’s the sort of football people want to see, where boys are getting stuck in and it’s hard hitting,” he said. “There was no feigning injuries or anything like that, feigning fouls and it was kind of let go to be played in the right way. I know there were a couple of decisions but it was played at a good pace and was very enjoyable. Ultimately it’s just about being aware of how the game is played now and how it’s refereed.”

* Jamie Clarke was speaking at the launch of Bodibro, High Performance Sportswear 2019 GAA range. Bodibro specialises in personalised orders of training and match day gear.

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