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Why the sin bin will improve hurling | Will it crack down on cynical hurlers?

Stephen Kisbey-Green
Stephen Kisbey-Green

16:19 28 Feb 2021

Former Dublin footballer Cliodhna O'Connor believes that the trial of the sin bin in hurling could help cut down on cynical fouls in front of goal.

It was announced this week that hurling will be trialling a new sin bin regulation which Congress hopes will crack down on the amount of cynical fouls committed in clear goal-scoring opportunities.

Under the new trial, if a referee believes that a clear goal-scoring chance was denied within the 20 metre line or the arc through a cynical foul, a penalty will be awarded and the player who committed the foul will be shown a yellow card and sent from the field for 10 minutes.

Speaking on OTB Sports’ Sunday Paper Review, O'Connor suggested that the trial law will have both positives and negatives to it.

“Any time there are any of these significant rule changes you have a nice, polarised opinion within the GAA community,” O'Connor said.

“You can see the motivation for why people want to bring it in, and it is in a trial basis so like any other rule they will see how it works and whether it improves the game.”

While the sin bin is yet to be seen in action, O'Connor believes that there will inevitably be some controversial use of the rule in the future.

“I am sure we will have some controversy,” O'Connor said. “It will be used at some times and there will be some controversial decisions, which will give everybody a good bit of meat to talk about.

“Until it is in in proper championship action, you never really know.”

Referees will be front and centre with new sin bin

The 2020 championship was rife with spectators calling out cynical fouls in front of goal, with many players being taken out in clear scoring opportunities.

O'Connor suggested that the sin bin might prove not to be the solution, but said that it is definitely worth trying as not trying anything would ultimately be worse.

“A lot of people have talked about the cynical fouling,” O'Connor said. “A lot of people will admit that that is in the game, but then say: ‘I am not sure if this is the right solution’.

“If there is a problem in the game, you have to then try something rather than just wait-and-seeing.”

Hurling sin bin trial Seán Regan of Mayo is fouled by Declan Coulter of Donegal during the Nickey Rackard Cup Final match between Donegal and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Some of the criticism of the new law trial has inevitably been surrounding whether or not referees will be able to make the correct calls in the match.

O'Connor suggested that, while there is always the possibility of subjective interpretations, the ultimate decision making will not differ to the current process needed for a penalty.

“The argument that it is too much for the referee, they have to decide: was it inside the line, was it deliberate, was it an obvious chance on goal?” O'Connor said.

“The same decision-making process is involved with a penalty as it was previously.

“Obviously the referees have some sort of subjectivity to their decision making there in the moment, obviously it is a difficult decision to make, but they are referees, and they are highly skilled at it.

“So, that is not a reason not to do it, I don’t think.”

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