Thursday 14 December 2017

'He should have been sent off, it was crazy' - Paul Caffrey on Diarmuid Connolly sideline incident

Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin remonstrates with linesman Ciaran Branagan during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Dublin and Carlow at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, in Co. Laois. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin remonstrates with linesman Ciaran Branagan during the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Dublin and Carlow at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, in Co. Laois. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Former Dublin manager Paul 'Pillar' Caffrey has said that Dublin centre-half-forward Diarmuid Connolly should have been sent off for making physical contact with linesman Ciaran Branagan during Saturday's Leinster quarter-final between Dublin and Carlow.

Caffrey, who handed Connolly his Dublin debut against DCU in the O'Byrne Cup back in 2007, said the St Vincents forward showed a total lack of discipline during the incident and that he should receive a 12-week ban if he is cited by the GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee.

"I think he'll be cited and will face disciplinary action," Caffrey wrote in his column in the Irish Daily Mirror on Monday.

"If that happens, there's only one suspension for what he did - a 12-week ban.

"It really was a moment of madness - it nearly brought me back to that Paul Galvin incident a few years ago and if he is punished for it then he'll be out until the All-Ireland final, if Dublin do make it that far.

"He's 30 years of age now. It's 10 years since he made his Dublin debut. Let's put it in context - Dublin are going to win this match one way or the other by 10-plus points and he's arguing over a line ball midway through the second-half.

"He should have been sent off for putting his hand on the linesman. It's crazy, a total lack of discipline. I'd feel very strongly that he's let his teammates down."

Caffrey managed Dublin for four years between 2004 and 2008 where he led the Dubs to four consecutive Leinster titles before resigning in the aftermath of Dublin's 12-point defeat to 2008 All-Ireland champions Tyrone in that year's All-Ireland quarter-final.

Nearly a decade later and Jim Gavin's side are now aiming for their third consecutive All-Ireland title with The Jacks once again the favourites to defend their crown despite losing to longtime rivals Kerry in the Division 1 National League final in April.

Dublin were fortunate in their run in to the 2015 All-Ireland championship that Connolly was allowed to play in that season's semi-final replay against Mayo, after the Disputes Resolution Authority had quashed the Central Hearings Committee's decision to suspend Connolly for one game after he hit Lee Keegan in the first semi-final, but Caffrey feels that injuries and suspensions could derail Dublin's bid to successfully defend their title for the second year running.

"I feel injuries and suspensions will be Dublin's greatest threat this year, that they could implode from within. You can't control injuries but you can control discipline," added Caffrey.

"Jim will be very disappointed because he prides himself on team discipline - and Diarmuid looked anything but disciplined on Saturday evening.

"It wouldn't have made a difference to the result but there'll be a drawn out process now before he's called before the CCCC."

 

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