Sunday 18 February 2018

Connolly gets 12 weeks

Dubs star won’t be available until All-Ireland semi-final if suspension stands

Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A decision on whether Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly will accept or challenge a proposed three-month ban for minor physical interference with a match official during Saturday's Leinster quarter-final with Carlow will be left to the player himself.

The proposed charge from the Central Compeitions Control Committee (CCCC) comes after the incident which saw Connolly react to a sideline ball going against Dublin, that he felt should be theirs, by laying a hand on linesman Ciarán Branagan and pointing his finger in an aggressive manner at him.

Such actions are specifically covered in rule and once the incident, which wasn't dealt with at the time, was noted in the report of referee Sean Hurson, a charge was laid.

However, any potential defence could focus on why the incident was not dealt with at the time by the officials. The proposed suspension will be backdated to last Saturday's match which would clear Connolly (left) for an All-Ireland semi-final if Dublin progress that far.

If Dublin win a seventh successive Leinster title, Connolly would miss three matches. Interestingly, if it was next year and the new calendar was in place, he would miss also miss an All-Ireland semi-final which will be scheduled for an earlier date.

It remains to be seen if Connolly, or indeed Dublin, have the appetite for another protracted appeals process.

Former Dublin manager Paul Caffrey was most vocal on the issue earlier this week when he said in his newspaper column that Connolly had "let his team-mates down".

Connolly has been involved in two high-profile disciplinary cases in the last number of years. Two years ago he was sent off in the closing stages of the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo after an incident with Lee Keegan which flared up as Keegan blocked his old adversary's run.

But he challenged the one-match ban handed down to him and eventually got off when a split Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) ruling went in his favour on a procedural point in the early hours of the Saturday morning that Dublin were due to play the replay. Connolly started that match.

In 2011, he was sent off by Maurice Deegan for allegedly striking a Donegal player but was cleared of the offence by the Central Hearings Committee (CHC).

Irish Independent

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