Saturday 21 October 2017

Dublin hope 'natural justice' frees Connolly for All-Ireland

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Diarmuid Connolly will place himself at the mercy of the GAA's Central Hearings Committee and appeal for "natural justice" in a bid to play in next month's All-Ireland football final.

The Dublin star's red card for an altercation with Donegal substitute Marty Boyle, allied to Paul Flynn's hamstring injury for which he underwent a scan yesterday, has cast a cloud over the Dubs' success in reaching an All-Ireland final for the first time in 16 years.

Dublin were awaiting the referee's report in which Maurice Deegan is expected to detail how Connolly struck an opponent with the hand. That would carry a proposed four-week suspension from the Central Competitions Controls Committee (CCCC), incorporating the All-Ireland final.

Dublin chairman Andy Kettle has said the board will back Connolly in any hearing, which is likely to take place later in the week.

"There would be grounds to challenge it on the basis of natural justice but there would also be grounds to challenge it on the actual video recording of it," said Kettle.

Clarification

Despite the motion passed at Congress in April that prevents the CCCC from inviting referees to upgrade offences and revisit incidents already dealt with, counties can seek clarification, through the CCCC, from referees.

In this case, Deegan took the advice of his linesman Rory Hickey. But there was clear provocation from Boyle, who pushed the Dublin player after Connolly had been fouled and over-reaction from the Donegal player when Connolly twice forcefully pushed him with an open hand.

This could work in Connolly's favour with a body (CHC) who have already looked favourably on Donegal's Michael Murphy after he received a straight red card against Cavan in June. Like Connolly, Murphy was the victim of provocation and an over-reaction from the opponent he had the altercation with and the referee in this case, Marty Duffy, also took the advice of his linesman, Martin Sludden.

Duffy initially reported Murphy for behaviour that was considered dangerous to an opponent, but on clarification specified that it had been a dangerous tackle.

Donegal seized on terminology which wasn't written in the rule book and won their case to liberate Murphy for the Ulster semi-final with Tyrone.

The groundswell of opinion is that Connolly has been treated harshly and would be unfortunate to miss an All-Ireland final for what he did.

Two years ago, John Miskella was lucky to avoid a suspension for the 2009 All-Ireland final when he lashed out at Brian McGuigan but only picked up a yellow card from referee John Bannon.

It was Bannon's last game as an inter-county referee and when invited to reconsider the yellow card he brandished to the Cork half-back, Bannon declined.

Irish Independent

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