Friday 28 April 2017

Philly McMahon in clear to face Mayo as Diarmuid Connolly awaits fate

O'Connor also escapes action as Dubs appeal Connolly red

Philly McMahon, Dublin, tussles with Aidan O'Shea, Mayo
Philly McMahon, Dublin, tussles with Aidan O'Shea, Mayo
30 August 2015; Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly shakes hands with manager Jim Gavin after being shown a red card. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

PHILLY McMahon is in the clear for next Saturday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay after the CCCC decided he had no case to answer for his clash with Aidan O'Shea in Sunday's draw with Mayo.

O'Shea claimed afterwards he had been head-butted during the match and clips of a flashpoint between the pair showed McMahon moving his head towards the Breaffy man during the second half.

No action was taken by referee Joe McQuillan at the time, leaving McMahon open to the threat of retrospective punishment.

But during their meeting yesterday, the CCCC deemed there to be insufficient cause to censure.

Mayo's Cillian O'Connor has also escaped a ban for his part in the incident which forced Rory O'Carroll out of the game after just four minutes and Dublin are now optimistic that their full-back will be fit for Saturday, a match which, according to the GAA, has attracted "absolutely unprecedented" levels of interest for tickets and is certain to sell out Croke Park for a second weekend running.

Diarmuid Connolly is the only player banned after a fractious and ill-tempered first game, although Dublin will launch their campaign to clear the St Vincent's man after seeking a hearing into his one-game suspension.

Diarmuid Connolly.jpg  

Connolly was similarly sent off in the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final against Donegal but was exonerated on appeal and played in the final.

As it stands, he will miss out on Saturday's game but would be available for the All-Ireland final on September 20 should Dublin win.

However, Dublin feel they have a strong case with new footage showing Connolly the victim of extreme provocation prior to being sent off by McQuillan.

Such is the demand for tickets for Saturday that there were 75,000 visitors to Tickets.ie - the GAA's official ticketing partner - between Sunday night and yesterday morning.

"I don't remember semi-finals involving Dublin and Donegal or Kerry being like this.

"Last Sunday, to all intents and purposes, was like an All-Ireland final for us," revealed Alan Milton, the GAA's head of media relations.

"Sometimes people say there is not as much interest in replay games, because it's a Saturday, but this has bucked that trend."

Last Sunday's rollercoaster deadlock was played before a Croke Park full-house of 82,300.

Saturday has yet to be officially declared a sell-out but this is inevitable, according to Milton, who yesterday explained: "Clubs are only getting their tickets, but we wouldn't expect any returns and there won't be any more general sale of tickets."

Eddie Kinsella, meanwhile, will come under more scrutiny than any player or manager next Saturday after being confirmed as referee for the replay.

The Laois official took charge of last year's All-Ireland final between Kerry and Donegal.

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