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Armagh manager Paul Grimley critical of new black card law

By John Campbell

Published 07/01/2014

The new season is still in nappies but already Armagh manager Paul Grimley has expressed reservations concerning the impact which the introduction of the new black card disciplinary measure will have within gaelic football.

While the rule was actually in force during the O'Fiaich Cup last month, it was not formally taken on board until January 1 following a decision taken at last year's Congress.

Grimley's apprehension stems from the dismissal of forward Robbie Tasker during his team's win over Queen's in the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup on Sunday.

Tasker, a player anxious to nail down a place in the Armagh side following an excellent year in the colours of his club St Patrick's, who reached the county final only to lose to Crossmaglen Rangers, was shown the black card by referee Martin Higgins as early as the 22nd minute.

And even though his replacement Stefan Forker bounced off the bench to score three points in a hugely impressive performance, this does not stop Grimley alluding to what he feels is an anomaly.

"I could not understand why Robbie was sent off and I had to seek out referee Martin Higgins afterwards and query this. He told me that Robbie had pulled a Queen's player and then went back and fouled him again," explains Grimley.

"My stance on these things is that if this is the sort of offence that we are going to be giving lads black cards for then I really don't know where we are going.

"I know that the committee that was set up to look into this whole issue probably studied long and hard for this, but it just doesn't make sense to me."

And Grimley's disquiet is shared by his Down counterpart James McCartan, who lost two players, Darragh O'Hanlon and Kalum King, in his team's win over UUJ.

While McCartan felt that both decisions were questionable, his chief gripe surrounded the actual replacement process.

In the build-up to the introduction of the black card, several managers and coaches had raised the matter of the time factor that might be involved in introducing replacements for those carded.

"Getting replacements on quickly is difficult because you don't know when a referee is going to flash a black card. You nearly need to have all your substitutes with their tracksuit bottoms off ready to answer the call to action," said McCartan

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