A 12 point win over Carlow at the weekend would suggest that things went according to plan for Jim Gavin and his squad. However, the attention soon focused on Diarmuid Connolly after an incident with the linesman.
The latest hiccup in his inter-county career saw him lose his temper with linesman Ciaran Branagan after he awarded a lineball to Carlow, now he faces a 12 week ban.
As Carlow’s defence stressed the boys in blue at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise the growing sense of frustration lead him to argue the call early on in the second half, lightly laying his hand on the official and then pointing at the linesman saying “That was a Dublin ball” – in the replay you can clearly see this.
By the letter of the law, ‘minor interference’ with an official carries carried a minimum 12 week suspension. The Croke Park’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) reviewed footage of the incident which has landed Dublin’s Connolly with a 12 week ban this evening.
What now for Diarmuid Connolly? That rules him out until August 26th, the next day if Dublin progress into the Semi Final stages, that Semi Final is due to be played on the 27th and Connolly would be free to play that game. Does he deserve a 12 week ban? Would he get a place back in the squad?
After he clearly thought it was a Dublin ball only to have three Carlow players surround him and wrestle the ball off him as well as having a Carlow mentor hit him a sly shoulder of the ball – Connolly looks as though he is facing a lengthy suspension.
Considering his actions were more than provoked by Carlow players, their selectors and that the linesman thought little enough of it at the time to just carry on a 12 week ban is quite harsh – considering no action was taken against three Carlow players or their mentor who slyly shouldered Connolly on the line.
Should Connolly know better? Without a doubt, he should. Connolly has by far the most natural ability of any footballer in the country. Teams target him to try and get him into trouble but that’s old news now. He should be well used to it and be a bit cuter about it at this stage. He is big loss to the side from the suspension but only has himself to blame.
As harsh as it is if he didn’t want the time, he shouldn’t have committed the crime, but know him he will get off at some stage of the appeal process.