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Connolly hopes to avoid league ban as chiefs probe Lilies incident

DUBLIN will be hoping Diarmuid Connolly will face no further sanction ahead of the NFL kick-off next week after an incident with Kildare's Ciaran Fitzpatrick in Sunday's O'Byrne Cup semi-final in Newbridge.

Replays showed Connolly's knee making contact with Fitzpatrick, who was picking himself up off the ground after a tussle for the ball in the 54th minute. The ball was gone when the contact was made.

Connolly was subsequently challenged by a number of Kildare players and was yellow-carded along with Kildare's James Kavanagh by referee Eddie Kinsella.

It's unclear, however, if the card was for the clash with Fitzpatrick or a subsequent incident as players jostled each other.

Under rule, a disciplinary committee cannot revisit an incident if a referee has already dealt with it.

But if that wasn't the incident that Kinsella showed the yellow card for, then Connolly may have a case to answer.

Leinster Council are due to meet tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, Tyrone's teen tyro Ronan O'Neill says his side are intent on disproving the theory that a Division 2 team cannot win the All-Ireland and insists the Red Hands still believe they are one of the country's best sides.

"We'd still feel we are a top four or five team and from the very start we have to aim for promotion," said the 19-year-old Omagh star, who was part of the team that beat Cork in the 2010 All-Ireland minor final.

After scoring a goal off the bench on his Dr McKenna Cup debut, O'Neill is being touted as a serious senior contender this season in what is expected to be a new-look Tyrone side.

The youngster believes the McKenna Cup final with Derry next Saturday will be the ideal preparation for Tyrone's high-profile Division 2 league opener against Kildare on February 4.

"Throughout the McKenna Cup we've been building towards the Kildare game, it's all been building towards our first National League game," O'Neill said.

"This (McKenna Cup) will do us a world of good. All these matches are going to benefit us as we try to break into the league (panel)."

Irish Independent