Brendan Cummins says the introduction of the sin bin in hurling will increase the pressure on referees, but doesn't envisage players diving in order to gain an advantage.
After the motion was passed in Congress at the weekend, a sin bin will be trialled in hurling this year as part of a crackdown on cynical play, which will also see penalties awarded when a clear goal-scoring opportunity is denied.
The rule change will mean if the referee adjudges a clear goal-scoring chance within the 20-metre line or arc is denied after the attacker is pulled down, tripped, or struck with a hurley in a careless manner, 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.
'If a player gets inside eight, nine, 10 yards, and has the freedom to hit the ball, I think they will take the shot'— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) March 1, 2021
Brendan Cummins spoke on @morningireland
about the hurling sin bin and the use of penalties to deter cynical fouling
READ: https://t.co/XMgwR3uMWe #RTEGAA pic.twitter.com/hdNdMZIrCu
Cummins welcomed the rule change, which was heavily defeated at last year’s Congress, but warns it will have implications for match officials.
"I think it is a positive step forward, but it will be really, really interesting to see how it pans out and what way it is interpreted by referees over the course of the championship," he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.
"Now that we won’t have a major amount of time coming out of Covid to practice, or to get a feel for what the interpretation is going to look like, so all the eyes, and focus, is going to be on them."
The two-time All-Ireland winner says the likely lack of challenge games in 2021 will mean any mistakes that could result in the applying of the new rule will tkae place in high-profile matches.
"With challenge games, referees would have got used to applying new rules and there could be a few errors when there was no-one looking at them in the limelight and adjust to fix it.
"It will be difficult for them, but I would hope they get it right. They are all hurling people. They’ll get a sense of when somebody is being pulled down and hopefully they will make the correct decision.
"There’s no doubt it does put an extra layer of pressure on referees."
There have been some suggestions that given the penalty award and the possibility of a player in the sin bin, some players could engineer a foul within the 20-metre line or arc.
If they get a chance to whistle it into the back of the net, they won't think twice about it
It’s a view Cummins doesn’t subscribe to.
"I don’t really see it. I think if a player gets inside eight, nine, 10 yards, and has the freedom to hit the ball, then I think they will take the shot.
"It’s instinctive. Hurling is different to most other sports in how quickly the ball can move. These guys, if they get a chance to whistle it into the back of the net, they won’t think twice about it."