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Sunday 19 November 2017

Connolly could face month ban

DUBLIN forward Diarmuid Connolly was today sweating over the possibility of a costly suspension that would leave him sidelined for the opening two rounds of the Allianz Football League.

It has now emerged that the Leinster Council has sought a copy of the match video from last Sunday’s O’Byrne Cup semi-final, with a view to reviewing a second half incident involving Connolly and Kildare full-back Ciaran Fitzpatrick.

However, Dublin officials will be hopeful that their mercurial full-forward can still avoid suspension because he was yellow-carded along with Kildare’s James Kavanagh in the immediate aftermath of the above incident.

Under GAA rules, players can only be cited retrospectively for an offence if it wasn’t seen by the referee.

On this occasion, a TG4 replay showed Connolly entering the frame and landing down on Fitzpatrick, who was already lying on the ground.

The Kildare defender’s team-mate, Kavanagh, then reacted angrily towards Connolly and a wider melee developed, before order was restored and Laois referee Eddie Kinsella yellow-carded Kavanagh and Connolly.

According to reports today, the Connolly/Fitzpatrick incident was not mentioned in Kinsella’s match report, and this has prompted inevitable speculation that it could be revisited.

The Leinster Council’s CCC discussed the referee’s match report on Wednesday night and subsequently sought a copy of the video.

If CCC members believes Connolly has a case to answer, the likelihood is that they will then send the revelant video clip to Kinsella. The key consideration, of course, is whether the referee saw it in the first place.

If Kinsella says he saw the incident and decided against taking any action at the time, then the CCC cannot overrule him and no disciplinary action will ensue.

But if the match official says he did not see it, the CCC would have the power to pursue a case. Striking or attempting to strike with the knee carries a four-week suspension, prompting fears that Connolly could be ruled out for Dublin’s first two NFL Division One outings – against Kerry under the Croke Park lights tomorrow week, and then away to Mayo.

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