'It’s disappointing to see Diarmuid back in trouble again' - Alan Brogan on proposed Connolly ban
Three-time All-Ireland winner Alan Brogan has said that it is disappointing to see his former teammate Diarmuid Connolly back in trouble again and that his proposed 12-week suspension was probably appropriate in accordance with GAA laws.
The proposed charge from the GAA's Central Compeitions Control Committee (CCCC) came after an incident in Saturday's Leinster quarter-final with Carlow, in which Connolly reacted to a sideline ball going against Dublin, that he felt should have been theirs, by laying a hand on linesman Ciarán Branagan and pointing his finger in an aggressive manner at him.
Brogan said that Connolly's actions lacked 'aggression' and that he'd be surprised if his former intercounty teammate didn't appeal the ban with the Central Hearings Committee later this week.
"It’s disappointing to see Diarmuid back in trouble again," Brogan told RTÉ Sport.
"Looking at the incident, and I’ve watched it back a few times, I thought when he touched the linesman it wasn’t very aggressive.
"He gesticulated after that, which probably made it look a bit worse than what it was. But by the letter of the law, probably the suspension had to be put in front of him.
"I think he’ll miss three games now, quite a severe suspension. If he got 12 weeks earlier on in the year or coming out of an All-Ireland final you might not miss any games so I think that’s something that we need to look at as well.
"But look, it’s disappointing to see him back in trouble again.
"I think he will [appeal]. Isn’t that what happens in most cases now, so I’d be surprised if they don’t.
"If he got a game’s suspension, or a couple of games’ suspension, they might have let it go, but I think the fact that it’s a 12-week suspension, you miss three games, it’s probably too much not to have a try and have a look at appealing."
Brogan said that Connolly would be a big loss to Dublin's championship aspirations, but as Martin Breheny astutely highlighted in Wednesday's Irish Independent, Dublin's recent record on the pitch has at times been better without the St Vincent's forward than with him.
Breheny noted that when Connolly came on as a substitute against Monaghan at half-time in the final round of Allianz League games in Clones in early April, he was back on the bench 15 minutes later after receiving a black card by referee Joe McQuillan (Cavan).
Dublin were trailing by three points at the time and in real danger of missing out on a top-two finish. They recovered and won by three points, booking a clash with Kerry in the final a week later.
Connolly started this time but was on the bench after 30 minutes, after being black-carded for a ridiculously unnecessary pull-down on Kerry sub Gavin Crowley.
Dublin were leading by two points at the time but eventually lost by one, ending a 25-month unbeaten run and wrecking their five-in-a-row league ambitions.
In the space of seven days, Connolly's lack of discipline had greatly increased the workload on his colleagues as they sought to reach the league final and then possibly cost them the title.
Brogan, however, notes that Dublin are strong enough to survive without their All-Star forward and that they should be able to advance to an All-Ireland semi-final without the 30-year-old's services.
"He is a big loss. Any county that loses a player of his calibre, it is going to hurt them," added Brogan.
"It will give somebody else an opportunity if he is suspended.
"The likelihood is Dublin play Westmeath [who meet Offaly on Sunday] the next day, they probably should get over that and they could be back in an All-Ireland semi-final without the services of Diarmuid Connolly".