Dublin set to be without John Small for Super 8s opener after red card suspension upheld
DUBLIN must plan without John Small for their 'Super 8' opener against Donegal after the defender's one-match suspension was upheld by the Central Hearings Committee.
Small had sought a hearing to contest his red card against Laois, but the CHC last night deemed the infraction proven. Barring a successful appeal, he will miss Saturday's SFC Group 2 clash against Donegal in Croke Park.
Small entered the Leinster final fray as a 52nd minute sub only to be sent off just five minutes later after catching Laois forward Evan O'Carroll in the face.
The Ballymun clubman received a straight red card from Derry referee Barry Cassidy, who reported the player for striking with the hand.
Immediately after the game, Dublin manager Jim Gavin suggested it had been a harsh decision.
"I'm just off the pitch but my initial reaction was that it was just a clumsy challenge. I don't think there was anything malicious in what John did," said Gavin.
"I was surprised to see that he went, maybe the linesman said something to the referee, I'm not too sure, but I was surprised he was sent off for that challenge."
Small was also sent off, for a second yellow card, on his last Dublin championship start, against Mayo in last year's All-Ireland final. His early summer was disrupted by injury before that ill-fated return against Laois.
Even without Small, Gavin has some marquee alternatives to bring into his defence this weekend – notably Cian O'Sullivan, who didn't feature against Laois; and Jack McCaffrey, who dazzled off the bench that day.