Connolly in the clear for Dublin's All-Ireland bid
Published 06/09/2011 | 05:00
Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly has been cleared to play in the All-Ireland football final against Kerry on Sunday week.
The St Vincent's man presented his case against a proposed four-week ban to the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) at Croke Park last night and that body deemed that the red card he received in the All-Ireland semi-final against Donegal was not merited.
It is a massive boost for Dublin ahead of their first All-Ireland final appearance in 16 years and with Paul Flynn making good progress from the hamstring injury he picked up on the same day it now looks like Pat Gilroy will be able to choose from a full-strength side.
Connolly was sent off when he reacted to Donegal sub Marty Boyle who had collided with him after Connolly won a free. Connolly pushed Boyle and the Donegal man fell far too easily to the ground.
On consultation with his linesman Rory Hickey, referee Maurice Deegan opted to send the player off. The CHC took this into account and felt that a lesser punishment would have sufficed.
The general consensus was that the CHC would not overturn the card but the weight of evidence supported a more lenient approach and the result will reflect well on the GAA's disciplinary system. Many will deem it as common sense.
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy was upbeat about his prospects late last week and there was a suggestion that a technicality may have helped Dublin's case at appeal stage.
Connolly was accompanied to Croke Park by Dublin chief executive John Costello and the process took close to three hours to complete.
Connolly scored seven points against Tyrone in the All-Ireland quarter-final and has been having a good season despite being substituted against Kildare and Wexford.