DUBLIN midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley is set to be available for next weekend’s Allianz League opener on Leeside after all – despite receiving a straight red card during yesterday’s O’Byrne Cup final victory over Kildare.

The two-time All Star received his marching orders in the dying seconds of normal time in Newbridge, and the initial impression of observers was that any suspension would carry into the start of the league, with Dublin facing Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn next Sunday.

However, it was later clarified that – under rule – suspensions now picked up during the O’Byrne Cup and other pre-season subsidiary cup competitions must be served in the following year’s competition.

It had been a fraught cameo for the Ballyboden St Enda’s man, who was introduced after 47 minutes, picked up a yellow card six minutes later – and then a straight red after an incident involving Kildare’s Gary White.

It’s understood he will be reported for kicking with minimal force and, according to rule, the penalty for this is a one-match suspension in the same code and at the same level, “applicable to the next game in the same competition, even if that game occurs in the following year’s competition”.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Jim Gavin was unsure how the disciplinary process would pan out or even why his midfielder had been sent off.

“I didn’t get to speak to any of the officials afterwards, so I don’t know exactly what he was sent off for,” the Dublin manager said.

“We were busy trying to reset the guys at the end of normal time, so I didn’t get to speak to Michael. But we’ll get a chance … our county board secretary will have that information, I’m sure, later on.”

Gavin took issue with any inference that Dublin indiscipline had been a feature of a match which saw them accumulate six yellow cards and one black (for a Jonny Cooper pull-down) as well as that red.

“No, I’m very happy with our discipline. I think it’s strong,” he insisted.

“I need to look back at the tape and how the referee viewed some of those black cards and some of the other cards that he gave us. But it was swings and roundabouts. Kevin (McManamon) went through for a goal, was pulled down; you could argue the toss that cards can be given out there as well. So we’re not going to … we just get on with it really.”

His Kildare counterpart, Jason Ryan, was bemused at a rule book anomaly that saw Dublin reduced to 14 men for less than a minute – incorporating one missed free and the next kickout.

“Well, I think yellow cards carry (into extra-time) but red cards don’t. It’s an unusual one. Look, I don’t make the decision. If you lose a player you should be punished for losing a player,” Ryan maintained.

“As it turned out there, Dublin were able to bring on a fresh pair of legs. It’s a bizarre one.”

Ryan was far happier with the game itself, surmising that this was a badly-needed test ahead of next Sunday’s NFL Division Two opener at home to Down.

Harking back to the first half hour which saw Kildare trail by 0-9 to 0-3 before a belated four-point burst of their own, the Waterford native admitted: “It was a bit of a shock to the system in the first half.

“We haven’t faced anything like that intensity since Monaghan last summer, so it was a real shock to only come back from your club championship matches.

“The players aren’t used to that intensity.

“January has been way too easy for us up to now, so a bit of reality hit us there in the first half and it took probably 20 minutes for the guys to realise we can’t afford to go into contact, we can’t afford to be as sloppy with the ball as we were at times. But you live and you learn.”


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