Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly suspended for 12 weeks

Forward opted for a hearing after being seen pushing linesman during win over Carlow

Diarmuid Connolly has been given a 12-week ban after a hearing on Tuesday  night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Diarmuid Connolly has been given a 12-week ban after a hearing on Tuesday night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Dublin footballer Diarmuid Connolly has been suspended for 12 weeks. In the early hours of Wednesday morning before the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee the player was found to have breached Rule 7.2 (b), category (V) (i) ‘Minor interference with a linesman’.

Connolly had been seen on live television pushing linesman Ciarán Branagan in Dublin’s Leinster quarter-final against Carlow. The infraction - defined as ‘laying a hand on, pushing, pulling or jostling’ - was mentioned in the report of referee Seán Hurson but not acted on during the match with the prescribed punishment of a red card.

The GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee proposed the 12-week suspension - the minimum for the infraction - but Connolly opted for a hearing, which was held on Tuesday.

At the heart of Dublin’s request for a hearing was believed to be a desire to test the situation that has arose whereby referee Hurson added to his report post hoc having not taken any action - either on his own initiative or in response to it being drawn to his attention - during the match when Connolly laid a hand on linesman Ciarán Branagan. This practice is unusual but apparently not unprecedented.

There was a belief that the matter could swing either way. By not taking action at the time, Hurson could be deemed to have taken a decision not to pursue the matter in which case the charge might have fallen. Alternatively, it may have been accepted that the referee’s report supersedes any other consideration.

There were no detailed reasons given for why the CHC found against Connolly beyond the finding that the infraction had been ‘proven’.

He and Dublin have the option of taking the matter to the Central Appeals Committee and should they fail there, the Disputes Resolution Authority where Connolly succeeded two years ago in challenging a suspension for the All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo in what was one of the DRA’s most controversial decisions.

In another case from the same match Carlow’s Brendan Murphy had his red card rescinded on the grounds that the first of two yellow cards had ‘been issued in error’. This meant that the prescribed suspension of one match for an accumulation of three sendings-off (either for double yellow or black cards) in the same year was not imposed.

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