Alan Brogan has likened it to Groundhog Day, which is a polite way of putting the latest suspension proposed to Dublin footballer Diarmuid Connolly after an altercation with a linesman in last weekend's championship win over Carlow.
And having played for many years alongside him, Brogan suggests the 12-week suspension is harsh, but also admits Connolly was “probably was foolish to do it”, knowing full well the attention he draws on himself given his previous record of indiscipline.
“By the letter of the law that’s the rule and he has to get 12 weeks - but I thought, looking at the incident on its own, I think it’s a little bit harsh,” says Brogan. “I think the suspension, to miss three matches, for what it was, seems very harsh to me.
“I think there’s a lot of confusion, even from my own point of view, about how the suspensions work. Philly (McMahon) gets suspended for a game and then Diarmuid gets 12 weeks. But I think, in the public in general, people are wondering is it time suspensions? Is it game suspensions? why is it happening like that?
“It’s disappointing to see Diarmuid back in trouble. I’m sure he’s the most disappointed, having to deal with this again, having come out of I don’t know how many incidents we’ve had in the last number of years, probably too many at this stage, in fairness. I do feel a bit sorry for him on this one.”
“When you look at it, when he put his hand on him, I think it was putting his hand on him to make a point rather than an aggressive . . . it’s hard to put that into words in a newspaper, but I don’t think it was a very aggressive gesture towards him. Now, he did gesticulate afterwards, it probably didn’t look well, but I think the actual hand on the (linesman) was fairly innocuous, for me.”
However Connolly was seen on television pushing and pointing a finger at linesman Ciaran Branagan from Down in protest after a lineball call that went against Dublin: he is almost certain to refuse the 12-week suspension and exercise his right to a hearing before the Central Hearings Committee.
If confirmed, the suspension will put Connolly, an All Star, out of commission until the weekend of Dublin’s All-Ireland semi-final should the team retain its Leinster title and win the subsequent All-Ireland quarter-final.
“Yeah it’s like Groundhog Day again, and in saying that, Diarmuid probably was foolish to do it. He should know, at this stage, he just can’t get involved in situations like that because any situation he gets involved in is being blown up a lot more than anyone else.
“And I think if that was another player in a similar situation, it mightn’t even have been raised at all. But because it’s Dermo, he has this attention following him now, especially around discipline issues, unfortunately. And anything he does now is being scrutinised to the ninth degree, more so than anyone else.
“He’s old enough and experienced enough to know that now; that he just shouldn’t get involved in situations like that. And unfortunately it’s just happened; probably happened too often.”
Brogan also suggested that indiscipline may be becoming a wider issue for Dublin: “Yeah, it probably is an issue that needs to be addressed. But I know Dermo very well; people would ask me is he a hothead, and I wouldn’t say he’s a hothead now.
“Earlier on in his career he probably did things that he shouldn’t have done, but now he’s quite controlled. He’s an experienced footballer, he’s heading towards 30, he’s a lot of game time under his belt and he’s seen it all. So he should probably be a little bit wiser in the situations he’s getting involved in. But in this particular situation I do have a bit of sympathy for him because I think it’s harsh.”
"He'll be back for a semi-final but if you miss three or four matches it's hard to keep going at that level of training knowing you aren't going to be playing games. I think it wouldn't be ideal preparation for Dermot going into an All-Ireland semi-final having not been able to play three games before that. Obviously he's a super athlete but even in terms of that bit of that match sharpness, coming in cold into an All-Ireland semi-final, against a Kerry or a Mayo or someone like that wouldn't be ideal.
"So you would think he would be a little bit smarter at this stage in terms of how he deals with that. I'm sure it's something himself and Jim Gavin have discussed, he needs to keep the head a little bit and just deal with the situations because he is being scrutinised a lot more now probably than any other player in Ireland. He knows if he does anything to step out of line it's going to be picked up."