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Did Mattie Donnelly And Cathal McShane Deserve To Get Black Cards Against Donegal?

Did Mattie Donnelly And Cathal McShane Deserve To Get Black Cards Against Donegal?
By Gavin Cooney Updated

In the end, the Ulster final proved to be a quite the game, ending in the kind of shoot-out that the OK Corral would be jealous of. At half-time, however, such entertainment seemed a mile away: we were treated to the usual wails about the state of Gaelic football.

Gaelic football is like journalism or the manners of youths: it seems eternally on the cusp of falling into crisis. Following a spate of cynical fouling interrupting the flow of the sport - with Sean Cavanagh's audacious hauling down of Conor MacManus at the Canal End the most notable - the black ward was introduced to curb the enthusiasm of cynical defenders.

Its introduction has cut ice in Gaelic football, and the deployment of the new rule proved to be the main talking point from the first half of the Ulster final. Colm O'Rourke branded the rule "stupid" on The Sunday Game, while the BBC Northern Ireland panel came to a consensus that the rule hindered the development of the sport.

Mattie Donnelly was given a black card on the first-half for a late check on Eoin McHugh, but the consensus emerged that it was rather harsh. Donnelly had committed to blocking the ball, so to come down on McHugh after the ball had gone, and for Donnelly's involvement in an Ulster final to be ended for such an act seemed a tad harsh.

Pat Spillane disagreed on The Sunday Game, saying that Donnelly deliberately caught McHugh, and that the black card was the correct decision. Not that everyone agreed:

Cathal McShane's seemed even softer, for an apparent ankle-tap on a Donegal defender running away from his own goal. BBC Sport NI report, however, that he was sent to the line for an entirely different reason: verbal abuse towards an umpire. Full details of that can be found here.

See Also: Aidan O'Shea Responds To The Backlash Over His Alleged Dive Against Fermanagh

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