Saturday 10 December 2016

'Connolly plays within the rules' - Jim Gavin questions match officials following two red cards against Donegal

Harry Clarke

Published 07/08/2016 | 12:00

Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin receives a red card from referee Ciarán Branagan during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Dublin and Donegal at Croke Park
Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin receives a red card from referee Ciarán Branagan during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Dublin and Donegal at Croke Park

Dublin boss Jim Gavin has questioned the match officials at yesterday's All Ireland quarter-final against Donegal after the defending champions ended the game with 13 players.

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Diarmuid Connolly saw red for two yellow card offences while substitute Eoghan O'Gara got his marching orders following an incident with Neil McGee.

While Gavin alluded that Dublin will appeal the O'Gara red, he also criticised the officials and accepted that teams are now out to provoke talisman Diarmuid Connolly.

“It was a source of disappointment that for a team that plays the game the way that we want to play the game ends up with 13 men," said Gavin after Dublin's 1-15 to 1-10 win.

Eoghan O'Gara of Dublin receives a red card from referee Ciarán Branagan
Eoghan O'Gara of Dublin receives a red card from referee Ciarán Branagan

"That’s the surprising thing I find. It's probably a question you need to ask the officials on that one.

“A lot of what happened in the game was very predictable going into it. We all knew that would happen,  that some of our players would receive special attention.

“That was the case, and it’s up to the officials to act upon it. If they don’t - the eight of them, the four umpires and the four men in black - if they don't act upon it then they’re letting the players down on the pitch, on both sides by the way.”

On O'Gara's red, Gavin said he will look at the incident again and will more than likely appeal. 

"I think so yeah. The players would know by opinion about raising their hand. If you raise your hand and make contact with somebody's head you are going to get sent off and you will get no sympathy from me."

Connolly has been at the centre of controversial incidents in back-to-back championship games but Gavin insists teams are out to target the All Star forward.

“Absolutely, yeah (Connolly is being targeted).

“He plays within the rules as best he can and if he doesn’t he gets punished.

“If he deserves it, like the last game when he got a yellow card for rough play, absolutely no complaints.

“But the rules have to be equally applied."

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