Cork clubs will vote on Tuesday night on sin-bin motion for GAA Congress

A total of 60% of inter-county delegates need to back hurling black card for change to be made
Cork clubs will vote on Tuesday night on sin-bin motion for GAA Congress

Keith Dennehy, Cloyne, draws a foul from defender John Grace, Youghal. Picture: Larry Cummins.

CORK clubs will be given an opportunity to air their views on the controversial proposal to implement a sin-bin in hurling at the GAA’s Annual Congress next weekend.

A special meeting of the county board, to be held remotely, takes place tomorrow night when Cork’s stance on the topic will become known.

Croke Park officials are attempting to rid the blight of cynical fouling in hurling by calling for the introduction of a black card, one of 37 motions to be put to Congress.

The wording is ‘that cynical fouls committed by the defending team within the 20m line and semi-circle arc that deny goal-scoring opportunities will result in a sin-bin for the offending player and a penalty for the attacking team.’

A cynical foul is a player pulling down, tripping with hands, arms, leg, foot or hurley or careless use of the hurley.

For it to be passed it requires 60 percent backing from delegates. Last season a similar move received little support.

Cork PRO Joe Blake confirmed a vote will be taken. “The logistics are being examined at the moment and all the clubs have been sent the list of motions,” he said.

Tom Ryan, the association’s director-general, is a strong advocate of the proposal.

“It is absolutely essential that we do not allow a situation to evolve (or persist) whereby it pays to engage in foul play,” he wrote in his 2020 report.

“Sanctions have to be enshrined so as to bring about a change in approach on the field.

“I know that there is a counterargument that says we don’t need black cards and such in hurling.

“I’m not deaf to that point of view and I know that was the consensus in previous years, but I do think the time has come to give it serious consideration again.

“Not just as a response to specific matches or fouls... more because that is our ongoing responsibility.

“In some respects, the time to take action is when a trend emerges that needs to be reversed, not later when more drastic remedial action might be needed.”

Tipperary's Seamus Callanan is fouled by Jason McCarthy of Clare to win a penalty. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Tipperary's Seamus Callanan is fouled by Jason McCarthy of Clare to win a penalty. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Congress 2021 will be a more limited affair than previous gatherings because it’s being staged remotely.

While 47 motions were approved, only 37 will be debated, including one on making the so-called split season a permanent feature of the GAA calendar.

The remaining 10 are being deferred until later in the year when it’s hoped a special congress will permit delegates to attend in person.


Proposals for alternative All-Ireland Football Championship structures will not be debated and voted on at the weekend and neither will potential playing rule changes as proposed by the Standing Committee on Playing Rules.

Changing the format of the football championship, which can only come into effect in 2022, at the earliest, if it passes Congress, are the most radical of all the motions.

One school of thought is that the current format be retained even though there are strong calls to do away with the provincial championships because of their lop-sided nature, for example, Dublin’s dominance in Leinster and the Kerry-Cork stranglehold in Munster, despite Tipperary’s dramatic success in 2020.

A second proposal is the establishment of an eight-team regional championship, effectively having eight counties compete in the four provinces and using national league standings as the guide.

This year’s condensed league, if it ever gets off the ground, that is, has Cork paired with Clare, Kildare and Laois in Division 2 South.

The third option would be to keep the status quo and play the provincial championships as stand-alone competitions in the spring before the league comes a qualifying competition for a new two-tier All-Ireland.

According to Ryan, these issues are too important to be debated and voted on in a virtual setting

“Some 47 motions have been prepared for consideration and have been validated by the Rules Advisory Committee and Central Council in the normal manner,” Ryan wrote.

“However, many of the proposals are complicated and have far-reaching consequences.

“They require careful debate, which is not best achieved in a virtual meeting.

“Included among these are the potential alternative football championship structures and the potential playing rule changes proposed by the Standing Committee on Playing Rules.

“There are one or two other proposals as well. The research and groundwork is complete; consultation has been widespread; the precise motions are drafted and approved for consideration.

“But it would be a disservice to seek to advance them via this constrained Congress. So they are not before you for consideration today.

“Later this year, as soon as it is permissible and safe for us to gather again in person, we will convene a Special Congress for the specific purpose of considering these topics.”

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