CORK clubs’ overwhelming support of the motion calling for the introduction of the sin-bin in hurling is seen as a major boost to getting it over the line at Congress on Saturday.
It was one of all 37 motions given the thumbs-up by delegates at a special meeting of the county board on Tuesday night which was held remotely due to restrictions.
Chairman Marc Sheehan will represent Cork at the historic on-line Congress, where Central Council delegate, Tracy Kennedy, and former President Christy Cooney are also eligible to vote.
Support for the introduction of the black card in hurling received over 75 percent backing from the 100-odd people who logged on to the specially convened meeting.
All motions required 60 per cent approval and there was only one vote, which fell below the 70 percent mark.
That concerned the move to only allow one player accept trophies instead of the growing trend of dual captains walking the steps to receive the cup. This received 68 percent.
But, it was the thorny issue of the black card in hurling that attracted most of the attention.
Croke Park officials are attempting to rid the blight of cynical fouling in hurling by calling for the introduction of the sin-bin, as is the case in football.
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.
Kevin O’Donovan, CEO/Sec, supported the motion. “We know there has been professional fouling in hurling for a number of years,” he said.
“There is nothing manly about that. We all want the aggression in hurling to be retained, but there is a link between that kind of foul and the lack of goals in games today.
“In other years the square was somewhat open, but now players are automatically dragged.
“I believe it is a well-defined motion. There is a question mark over whether the black card is excessive.
“My view is that we have to try the sin-bin. It’s been longed for long enough and I believe it’s time to give it a shot and see how it works out.
“It will be in for a couple of years on a trial basis and I think it needs a look. Foul play shouldn’t be rewarded,” he added.
A counter-argument came from another member of the executive, Jerry Walsh, the Coaching Officer.
“I see the spirit of the motion, but I think adding a sin-bin to a penalty is far too harsh in my opinion.
“I reckon there is a bigger issue in hurling and that is the use of the spare hand in tackling which is resulting in all kinds of rucks as they are described in the papers,” he said.
Another officer, PRO Joe Blake, lent his support to the motion.
I think hurling is the most skilful game in the world and we all want to see skilful players rewarded.
“There is nothing more frustrating to see players being dragged down when there is a goal-scoring opportunity and we’ve seen Cork players pulled down in those situations,” he said.
Aidan O’Rourke, vice-chairman of the Carbery division, added his support to Walsh’s stance.
“It seems very harsh to me because a cute forward can manufacture frees as well.
“A penalty is almost a guaranteed goal in a lot of cases and I believe adding a sin-bin is too harsh,” he commented.
Delegates also passed a motion calling for a split-season with inter-county action coming first.
“The plan is to move All-Ireland finals much earlier in the season to free up space for clubs to get the second half of the summer for their championships,” said O’Donovan.
Cork are also backing the motion to end All-Ireland U20 hurling semi-finals and to restrict senior inter-county players in the grade, also.