Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Stephen O'Neill with Peter Kelly

Stephen O’Neill with Peter Kelly

Is two fouls in 35 minutes of football really persistent infringement of the rules?”

IN realtime at St Conleth’s Park on Saturday evening there was a certain inevitability about Peter Kelly’s dismissal but upon reflection it the Two Mile House man was hard done by.

Kelly was shown a yellow card for his third foul of the game in the 28th minute and made just one further indiscretion before being shown a second yellow for his fifth foul of game in the 63rd minute.

It’s clear that the offence that led to Kelly’s second yellow was innocuous by modern GAA standards so we can only presume that the yellow was for persistent fouling but is two fouls in 35 minutes of football really persistent infringement of the rules? Does that mean a second foul is an automatic yellow card on every occasion? It wasn’t as if Kildare weren’t being punished for Kelly’s fouls as all five led to pointed frees.

What is interesting to note when looking back on video is the play immediately preceding Kelly’s dismissal. Kyle Coney played a harmless ball into the corner and Kelly and Stephen O’Neill gave chase. Kelly did well to position his body in between ball and man and shepherded it out of play. O’Neill was unhappy though and turned to protest that his jersey was being tugged despite the cameras showing minimal contact between the pair. 30 seconds later Kelly committed the foul on Matthew Donnelly that saw him sent off but it would be interesting to know if O’Neill’s words were still ringing in Joe McQuillan’s ears when he made his decision.

During his 63 minutes on the pitch, Kelly certainly had a tussle to remember with O’Neill. Although Kelly won the first ball that went near the pair, O’Neil won the next two, one resulting in a pointed free and the other ended with O’Neill handpassing into the net. In the ninth minute, Kelly was penalised for an off-the-ball foul on O’Neill. The next clash between the pair led to Kelly breaking the ball down to O’Neill who then set up Matthew Donnelly for the Tyrone goal.

O’Neill won the ball ahead of Kelly again in the 24th and 28th minutes, the latter leading to Kelly dragging O’Neill to the ground by the waist for which he picked up his first yellow.

Although O’Neill won the next ball between in the 32nd,minute, the duo’s games changed in that moment. Kelly exerted enough pressure to force O’Neill to kick wide. While the ball was dead, Kelly then barged into the back of O’Neill before the Tyrone man retaliated with an elbow to the chest. O’Neill was only shown a yellow card for that indiscretion but the Two Mile House player was a new man after that.

Kelly won three of the first five balls that went between them in the second half and on the two occasions that he lost out, good defending forced O’Neill to shoot wide. Kelly’s fourth foul of the game was on Martin Penrose in the 59th minute and his game finished abruptly four minutes later.

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