Monday 18 December 2017

Connolly to take 12-week punishment

Diarmuid Connolly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Dublin drew a line under the Diarmuid Connolly suspension saga yesterday evening when a Tweet from the county board's official account confirmed that they had "decided not to appeal the decision of the Central Hearings Committee".

Connolly will now serve a 12-week ban, back-dated to Dublin's Leinster SFC opening round victory over Carlow on June 3, the day of his physical interaction with match official, Ciarán Branagan.

His suspension elapses at midnight on August 26, the night before Dublin would play in an All-Ireland semi-final should they firstly, win a seventh Leinster title in-a-row in the absence of their vice-captain, and subsequently, an All-Ireland quarter-final.

Though the ban precludes Connolly from "all functions, privileges and competitions under the control of Comhairle Ardoideachais," it is customary for players to train with their panels whilst serving that particular suspension and the GAA are highly unlikely to monitor such activity.

Dublin's decision not to pursue the matter any further than Tuesday's late-night CHC hearing is something of a surprise, given the technicalities of the case.

Dublin contested that the referee and linesman in accordance with Rule 1 of the Official Guide, Part 2: "shall decide on the field all matters affecting play," and that retrospective adjudication after a game end is not allowed.

They also asked why and how the infraction - minor physical interference with a match official - appeared in referee Seán Hurson's additional match notes when it wasn't dealt with at the time with the appropriate sanction.

It is the third such saga Connolly has faced.

In 2011, he was cleared by the CHC to play in the All-Ireland final after being sent off against Donegal in the semi while the DRA overturned a one-match ban prior to the 2015 semi-final replay.

If the Dubs reach an All-Ireland semi-final and Connolly was then black-carded it is expected that Dublin would then appeal his black card in the league against Monaghan.

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