Cavanagh: Players will still take a black card 'for the team'

Sean Cavanagh
Sean Cavanagh

The introduction of the black card for the 2014 Championship will not stop players “taking one for the team”.

That’s the verdict of Tyrone talisman Sean Cavanagh.

Cavanagh found himself in the middle of controversy last year when he rugby tackled Monaghan's Conor McManus to prevent him scoring a goal in the second half of their All-Ireland quarter-final.

The incident prompted RTE analyst Joe Brolly to go on a wild rant and live on TV and it raised the subject of cynical fouling in the game.

Despite the introduction of the black card this year for such offences, Cavanagh believes players are willing to take drastic measures should a similar situation arise.

He said: "Goals are just too big of a score in the championship.

"People will go down or pull people back on purpose to stop them scoring goals, it's as simple as that. Pulling somebody back to me isn't dangerous.

"Maybe if you were getting a red card, and it was deemed a professional foul, and you were going to miss a game or something like that, you definitely would think twice about it.

"But if it got you over the line, and through to the next round of a championship? I think 99.9 per cent of players will tell you exactly the same.

"I know Conor personally and he's a great lad but I have no doubt if we're winning by two points on Sunday, and I go through on goal in the last five minutes, that somebody's going to rip me down.

"You have to accept that. It's part and parcel of the game. The black card will work to a certain extent but there's still anomalies."

The five-time All Star admitted that the introduction of the black card for certain offences has led to more free flowing games, but that cynical fouls will still occur in the latter stages of matches.

"Most players would take a black card if it meant the team was going to get to the next round of the championship. It's probably from about 60 minutes onwards. I have no doubt it might click into someone's head that it's the right thing to do for your team," he said.