Pat McEnaney accepts black-card enforcement needs to improve

National Referees Committee chair says, “we need to get better” after early championship controversies

Pat McEnaney, chair of the National Referees Committee, has accepted that enforcement of the black card rule must improve. He was speaking after the first two weeks of the football championship have each thrown up controversies.

Ten days ago David Coldrick erred in not showing a black card to Down's Conor Maginn after he had pulled down Tyrone's Mark Donnelly and at the weekend Cavan referee Joe McQuillan missed a black-card foul on Donegal's Odhrán Mac Niallais by Derry's Patsey Bradley. At the end of the match James Kielt was shown a black card having been already given a yellow but the referee omitted to show the Derry player a red card. Team management however didn't send on a replacement and so the mistake caused no further complications.

"These are championship matches," according to McEnaney, "and we've looked at them carefully. We didn't get them right and we need to get them right. Criticism is something we have to accept – that we haven't performed up to the level we wanted to. There were two deliberate pull-downs in matches and we got them wrong. We need to get better."

Asked was it frustrating that after all of the preparatory work done for the roll-out of the black card sanction, intended to penalise calculated fouling, mistakes were still being made, he said: "No. Frustrating isn't the right word. It's challenging and we'll give some thought on how to respond to this in a positive manner."

Meanwhile the GAA’s Central Council meeting last Saturday decided not to address the second report of the Football Review Committee, which was on the clár, because of a lack of time. Instead the proposals for changes to intercounty competition structures – most notably, the re-organisation of the provincial championships into four regions of eight counties – will be discussed at the next meeting on 28th June when no other business will taken.

Finally there are suggestions Sunday week's Munster hurling replay between Cork and Waterford will be streamed live on RTÉ. ie. The drawn quarter-final was a highly entertaining match but all broadcast slots that weekend – which include Kilkenny-Offaly the first live broadcast by Sky – have been allocated. On the Sunday of the replay, RTÉ will show a double bill of Roscommon v Mayo and Dublin v Laois. It is not usual practice for broadcasters to switch matches because of replays in the early stages of the championship because alternative dates are hard to find.

Munster PRO Ger Ryan said yesterday: “It’s not policy for us to say always we won’t fix replays for Saturday but we do find that Sunday afternoon fixtures are more satisfactory.”

He confirmed Munster Council has reduced ticket prices for the replay by €5 provided spectators purchase in advance.

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