GAA: ‘Cynicism’ rule not the answer - Doherty

Former Donegal player and senior team manager not convinced by new rule

John Joe Doherty

John Joe Doherty watches as Barry McGowan collects possession against Dublin in 1993 - PIC: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE;

A leading Donegal GAA figure is not convinced that the new “cynicism” rule recently passed at Congress is the answer to a growing problem in the association.
All-Ireland 1992 winner and ex-Donegal manager, John Joe Doherty is somewhat sceptical that the new rule (where if a player is fouled in a scoring position inside the 20-metre line, it’s a penalty and the offender is sin-binned for 10 minutes) will end cynical fouling. It will be trialed in this year’s inter-county season. The rule also applies in hurling.
But Doherty says this rule must be applied in club competitions also and he foresees problems in carrying it through.
“The manpower is not there in the clubs and the referee is often on his own and does not have neutral officials. And you could not have it just for counties and not for clubs.
“Nothing much has changed really as there are still fellows who will take a black card for the team. But I don’t think there is a need for a black card or a sin-bin.
“There are a total of seven officials and surely that is enough to deal with anything that arises, and we already have yellow and red cards, but all those officials need to be tuned in.

John Joe Doherty


“The linesmen actually have a better view of the posts than the umpires. It is very frustrating for players when bad decisions are made, and umpires need to be up to speed as well.
“It is a question of common sense and all the officials working closely together.”
Meanwhile, when asked if he would consider going back into management, John Joe said he “would have to take stock and re-educate myself.”

Different game
“Football now is a totally different game,” he said. “It is a lot about the blanket defence, and you could get caught out fairly easily. I have never warmed to it really."
“The individual battles were great for the spectators, but I can also see why possession has come into the game.
“Once the top coaches came in and analysed the matches and took statsm it became obvious that possession was going to be key to success.
“But from a spectator’s point of view it is sore on the eye and it does not make for entertainment.
He added: “The game has become very defensive, and it is a specialised game at the minute and giving the ball away is seen as the biggest crime of them all.
“All sports have gone the same way and it is all about possession and creating and closing down space which can be hard to watch.
“It is not going to change, and I think that hurling is the one game that has kept to its roots although it is changing a bit too.”

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