COMMENT: The stupidest rule in Gaelic games cost one team a chance at an All-Ireland final 7 years ago

COMMENT: The stupidest rule in Gaelic games cost one team a chance at an All-Ireland final

When is a sending off not a sending off?

Last weekend the biggest anomaly in the current GAA rule book once again reared its ugly head to play a not insignificant role in Ballyboden St Enda's AIB All-Ireland club SFC semi-final win over Clonmel Commercials.


Ballyboden ended the normal time with 14 men, after the dismissal of Declan O'Mahoney, but were able to restore their side to a full compliment when the extra time period began.

It was thanks to this bizarre rule that is not likely to be changed any time soon.

red card

So, when the sixty minutes was up, Ballyboden were able to play once again with 15, as Sam Molony was introduced as the GAA treat the additional 20-minute period as a "new game".


Surely a new game, by the GAA definition, should mean a wiping clean of the slate, and that would include all offences, and let the teams start again from scratch.


Clonmel's hopes were dashed quickly when Michael Quinlivan picked up a black card that ruled him out of most of extra-time, and left Clonmel shrinking further and further away from Croke Park on 17th March.


Clonmel led when Ballyboden had their midfielder sent off and they will never regret anything more in their club careers than letting a three-point lead slip while enjoying the extra-man.

But the question has to be asked: what other sport, in the world, allows such an archaic rule?

If you are reduced to 14 men, or 10 men, or whatever is minus your full compliment, then that's how it should stay.


GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 20/9/2015 Kerry vs Dublin Referee David Coldrick issues a black card Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Reds cards are meant to be handed out for the worst fouls you can commit, such as striking, or attempting to strike or kicking out at an opponent etc.

Rule 2.6 (d) makes absolutely no sense, and perhaps when Clonmel Commercials are thinking of motions to send to Congress for 2017, it may be an idea to see if there is an appetite for change in something that cannot be allowed stand in the rulebook much longer.