Thursday 27 July 2017

'It's a suspicious feature' - Joe Brolly questions how Diarmuid Connolly incident made its way into ref report

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

GAA pundit Joe Brolly has questioned how Diarmuid Connolly's push on linesman Ciarán Branagan was included in the referee's report but the incident wasn't dealt with during the victory over Carlow on Saturday.

Connolly is facing a 12-week suspension after a proposed charge from the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) after he reacted to a lineball going against Dublin in the game.

The incident was noted in the report of referee Sean Hurson, despite the fact that no card was brandished at the time and Brolly believes this is highly irregular.

Speaking on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One, the 1993 All-Ireland winner was asked if Connolly had a chance of getting the decision overturned.

"I don't think so, because what has happened is that the suspicious feature of this is that, as I understand it, it has made its way into the referee's report. So not withstanding that the referee and linesman took no action whatsoever in relation to it, I understand that there is a section in the referee's report, this is very unusual in itself, in the course of the de-brief the linesman has informed me of being pushed by Diarmuid Connolly," he said.

"Once it's in the referee's report then the CCCC are entitled to act on it. If it hadn't been in the report there was a serious problem. The CCCC would have had great difficulty in dealing with it because it would be usurping the referee's funtion.

"They had adjudicated on it by deciding not to produce a card. That's no longer an issue.

"There is great suspicion around that, how did that come to be in the referee's report when neither the referee or the linesman acted on it at the time.

"The issue here is the referee and the linesman, both of whom are very experienced, have a wide margin of discretion to deal with the game. Their job is to deal with what happens during the course of the game. They didn't act.

"If they had felt that the offence had crossed the line, then they would have reacted immediately on it.

"The linesman felt the touch, he was aware that it happened, if you watch the video you'll see that he keeps his white flag up for the sideline ball. He doesn't react to it at all."

Brolly also believes that there has been a campaign in the media to have him banned.

"The pressure was building on him. He was in the eye of a storm already coming into the game and he is systematically targeted by the opposition because he has that type of personality that reacts," he added.

"He was put under huge pressure during the game by the Carlow boys.

"I thought the incident was inconsequential and so much so that the linesman didn't react at all, a very experiencved inter-county referee, and did,'t bring the referee's attention to it, didn't suggest that he had been interfered with and the referee was right there.

"The Dubs could have expected that there was nothing to it and that he hadn't crossed the line but then there was such a media furure, particularly with Pat Spillane, leading the stampede to have him banned.

"Why on earth would a Kerryman want to have Dublin's star forward banned."

Should the 12-week ban be upheld, Connolly would not return until the All-Ireland semi-final, should Dublin reach that stage of the competition.

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