GAA officials and county board delegates will descend upon Croke Park this weekend for Congress 2020 with the big issue being the possible introduction of a black card into hurling.
The controversial ruling was brought into football back in 2014 before a motion was put before Special Congress pre-Christmas that saw black card offenders sent to the sin-bin rather than permanently substituted.
A number of weeks ago it was announced that introducing it into hurling was to be discussed with it now set to go to a vote this weekend, with the general consensus being that it will indeed gain a two-thirds majority at Congress.
As was the case with football, it would seem that the majority of players aren’t in favour of seeing the black card come into play and that was the sentiment shared by John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer. The Tipperary All-Ireland winner feels the controversial ruling poses a threat in that it could ruin the game.
“I think it is just a conversation that’s been had with people wanting to change the game but I don’t know, I don’t want to change the game because it’s still the best game in the world you know?
“It’s a field sport, it’s fast but bringing in the black card would, in my opinion, completely ruin the game because you have to have that pulling and dragging from a defender, you have to have that hard-hitting and all this sort of stuff.
“To take it out of the game you are losing the whole GAA aspect, your whole hurling aspect if you start bringing in these black cards, pink cards, whatever. It completely ruins the game and it is going to ruin the game. The game is perfect the way it is. I’d say leave the game the way it is and stop trying to change it if it’s not broke don’t change it.”
O’Dwyer also voiced his frustration in that players aren’t involved in the process of coming to these decisions. However, he did put forward an interesting case about how this could be facilitated.
Overall though, the Tipperary star is sceptical of certain individual’s motives as he feels it is “nonsense” to change the game in any way.
“That’s the thing the players aren’t questioned on this. They’re questioned on it at the end of the year by the GPA in a survey or whatever but like if these decisions are to be made then why not bring in two top players from each county that competes in the hurling and ask their opinion on it. Then they can go back to the whole group as a collective and then bring it together.
“But for these people in the top brass in Croke Park or whatever to be bringing in these decisions, to me it’s absolutely nonsense and they are trying to change something maybe just to have their name in a book saying that they made this rule change or something like that but to me it’s nonsense and it should be just left the way it is.”
The reasoning behind the black card is to eradicate cynical play in football, and very likely hurling soon enough. However, O’Dwyer is adamant that cynicism isn’t a recent addition to the game. In fact, it’s been there since the dawning of time.
“No, cynicism has been there since 1884. It hasn’t come in the last two years, it’s always been there.
“If a forward is beating a defender he is going to pull him down, he is going to hit him, he’s going to do whatever he can to try and get on top of him and vice-versa for a forward if he’s been getting the better off, he’s going to try and provoke that corner-back, centre-back or whatever.
“Cynicism hasn’t come in in the last few years, it’s always been there. It’s just been talked about more now because people are looking for something to talk about.
“Why not talk about the good aspects of the game? And promote the game in a good sense instead of trying to bring the game down. There’s already been so many changes made to football which in my opinion, again, are all the wrong changes as well so why change hurling when there’s nothing wrong with it.
“It’s perfectly fine the way it is… leave it!”