'It's a harsh call' - Jim Gavin defends Paul Mannion after red card against Louth
JIM Gavin was adamant that Paul Mannion did not deserve to be sent off during Dublin's opening Leinster SFC victory over Louth in O'Moore Park tonight.
The Dubs sauntered to a 26-point victory in their first match of this year's provincial Championship, the only blight on which was Mannion's straight red card for a frontal challenge on Conal McKeever in the 24th minute.
"My first thoughts on it having seen it live, I thought he tackled him and the ball just popped up," stressed the Dublin manager.
"Certainly from my perspective, it didn't warrant a red card. Possibly a yellow."
By way of comparison, Gavin referenced the tackle by Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan that resulted in Paddy Andrews suffering a broken jaw in the recent League match in Croke Park for which Morgan received just a yellow card.
"The Louth player got up afterwards and played on, unlike Paddy Andrews. He didn't and he broke a jaw. They were completely different tackles. Paul got the ball first, probably braced himself.
"We'll see it slowed down into various frames and we can make an assessment then. But my initial reaction is it's a harsh call. Thankfully it didn't upset the rhythm of the game for us.
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"Paul's a strong guy. He's a big man. He's six-two. I thought the Louth player crouched a little bit, which probably didn't help him. But the Louth guy got up and played on. But initial reaction is it's certainly not a red card."
As it stands, Mannion will be suspended for Dublin's Leinster semi-final against Kildare or Longford on June 9 unless he successfully appeals.
Asked whether Dublin would attempt to overturn the ban, Gavin stressed: "It's probably unfair for me to give a full assessment until I see it again. We'll have to have a really close look at it. Because it wouldn't be in his nature...I can't remember the last time Paul would have gotten a red card."
Tonight's match featured a return to inter-county football after almost four years for Rory O'Carroll. And though Gavin did not mention Diarmuid Connolly in his post-match interview, the insisted his panel was open for any player who shows suitable form for their club over the coming weeks.