Saturday 20 January 2018

Diarmuid Connolly cleared because of 'lack of fair procedure' early on

Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly leaves the pitch after being shown a red card during Sunday’s
drawn All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo
Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly leaves the pitch after being shown a red card during Sunday’s drawn All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo

Denise Calnan and Barry Lennon

Dublin footballer Diarmiud Connolly has been cleared to play in today's All-Ireland football semi-final replay against Mayo.

The decision was announced late last night during Dublin's last-ditch attempt to allow the forward take to the pitch for today's clash.

The Disputes Resolution Authority have yet to publish details surrounding the shock decision.

Connolly was issued a red card by referee Joe McQuillan in last weekend’s clash for striking Mayo’s Lee Keegan in an off-the-ball incident.

It was initially ruled that he should serve a one-match suspension.

The DRA Panel was last night chaired by former Supreme Court judge Hugh O'Flaherty with solicitors David Nohilly and Brian Rennick.

A statement released on this morning states: "The Panel's decision related to lack of fair procedure afforded to Mr. Connolly at an early stage in the GAA's internal disciplinary process which unfairly hindered the preparations for, and presentation of, his defence. Mr Connolly was thus free to play in the replay of the above match on 5 September".

Read more: Twitter reacts to Diarmuid Connolly's successful appeal

The Disputes Resolution Authority said the statement issued is 'for informational purposes only' and a full, written reflective of the hearing will be issued within the next fortnight.

Responding to the decision,  Dublin GAA tweeted: 'BREAKING NEWS: Diarmuid Connolly appeal to the DRA successful. He's clear to line out v @MayoGAA tomorrow #UpTheDubs'.

They later repeated the tweet with an 'In case you missed it' message.

Mayo GAA also responded to the decision on their official social media account, writing: 'GAME DAY!! Diarmuid Connolly free to Play! Bring the Colour, Bring the Noise! It's going to be one hell of an afternoon!'.

Meanwhile, the lifting of the match ban proved controversial with some Twitter users, while others welcomed the Dispute Resolution Authority's decision this morning.

Dublin full-forward Conal Keaney tweeted: "Great news for Dublin today with Diarmuid free to play today."

Meanwhile, his inter-county teammate Barry Cahill speculated that Connolly had used the lawyers of American Football player, Tom Brady to get his successful appeal.

Brady was cleared after an appeal over the deflation of match balls earlier this week.

Elsewhere, Irish Independent's Colm Keyes noted the Association's record on suspensions.  

"August-September suspensions don't stick for the GAA. Think only Martin Penrose in 2013 has missed a match from last six," he wrote.

Newstalk's Jonathan Healy noted: "There are rules and there are GAA rules."

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