Monday 23 October 2017

Diarmuid Connolly ban too severe but he needs to be wiser - Alan Brogan

Diarmuid Connolly remonstrates with linesman Ciarán Branagan during the Leinster SFC quarter-final between Dublin and Carlow at O’Moore Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly remonstrates with linesman Ciarán Branagan during the Leinster SFC quarter-final between Dublin and Carlow at O’Moore Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Dublin and Carlow at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, in Co. Laois. Photo :Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Dublin hero Alan Brogan believes Diarmuid Connolly's proposed 12-week suspension is "OTT" but admits the St Vincent's man's repeated run-ins with the GAA's disciplinary chiefs have become an issue for Jim Gavin's All-Ireland champions.

The proposed 12-week ban would see Connolly ruled out until an All-Ireland semi-final, assuming the Dubs progress that far through the front door.

But Brogan reckons that being sidelined for three games is too harsh a punishment for Connolly, based on the footage.

And the 2011 Footballer of the Year questioned why game-based suspensions were in use for some infractions, while others incur time-based bans.

"By the letter of the law that's the rule and he has to get 12 weeks - but looking at the incident on its own, I think it's a little bit harsh. To miss three matches, for what it was, seems very harsh to me.

"There's a lot of confusion about how the suspensions work. Philly (McMahon) gets suspended for a game and then Diarmuid gets 12 weeks. Among the public in general, people are wondering, is it time suspensions? Is it game suspensions? Why is it happening like that?

"But the incident, on its own, is harsh."

"If this happened in an All-Ireland final he wouldn't miss a (county) match whereas it happens now and he missed three matches. So it just doesn't make sense to me, the way the suspensions are set up.

"If they said, 'Right, it's a two-game suspension' … I think Dublin would probably swallow a two-game suspension. But 12 weeks just seems OTT to me.

"When he put his hand on (the linesman), I think it was putting his hand on him to make a point rather than an aggressive … it's hard to put that into words, but I don't think it was a very aggressive gesture towards him.

"Now, he did gesticulate afterwards, it probably didn't look well, but I think the actual hand on the (linesman) was fairly innocuous." 

However, Brogan conceded that Connolly should be a 'little bit wiser' at this stage of his career.

"It (discipline) probably is an issue that needs to be addressed.

"I know Dermo very well; people ask me is he a hothead, and I wouldn't say he's a hothead now.

"Earlier on in his career he probably did things that he shouldn't have done, but now he's quite controlled.

"He's an experienced footballer, he's heading towards 30, he's a lot of game-time under his belt and he's seen it all. So he should probably be a little bit wiser in the situations he's getting involved in.

"But in this particular situation I do have a bit of sympathy for him because I think it's harsh."

And while Brogan believes Dublin can keep their quest for three All-Ireland titles in a row on track without Connolly until the All-Ireland semi-finals, he's unsure what sort of shape he would be in at that stage.

He expects Dublin to launch an appeal.

"He'll be back for a semi-final but if you miss three or four matches it's hard to keep going at that level of training knowing you aren't going to be playing games," said Brogan.

"It wouldn't be ideal preparation for (him) going into an All-Ireland semi-final having not been able to play three games before that.

"He's a super athlete but in terms of that bit of that match sharpness, coming in cold into an All-Ireland semi-final, against a Kerry or a Mayo or someone like that wouldn't be ideal.

"He'll have played no football practically going into an All-Ireland semi-final if the ban holds up. But I'm sure there'll be some sort of appeal around it because three games just doesn't fit with what the crime was for me."

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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