Dublin Footballer Diarmuid Connolly
Diarmuid Connolly Warming Up In O’Moore Park Ahead of The Game

Dublin supporters were given the unwelcome news on Tuesday afternoon that Star forward Diarmuid Connolly was given a proposed 12 week ban for an incident involving linesman Ciaran Brannigan on Saturday evening in the Leinster Championship quarter final in O’Moore Park.

If the ban sticks it will be in place till the midnight of the 26th of August, the day before the second All Ireland semi final, which if Dublin progress that far will play in. 

It was the news many Dubs feared but expected and it has been the main sports news story for the last couple of days. 

Connolly has three days to either accept the ban or appeal it and ask to appear before the Central Hearings Committee who can either uphold, overturn, increase or decrease any punishment the CCCC hands down. 

But before today’s announcement most, if not all the main media outlets were led to believe there was no reference of the incident in the referees report. But after a meeting today of the CCCC who decided to propose the ban, it’s now being stated it is in the report.

This raises many questions and ones that need to be answered.

Why if it is in the referees report was the incident not dealt with on the pitch, if it’s in the report then the referee seen it or was made aware of it by his linesman and should have acted on it there and then.

Surely if it’s in the report then the referee or the linesman in question believed Connolly crossed the line and action should have been taken. The incident itself was all over the TV, media outlets and social media moments after the final whistle, did the linesman get wind of it, if so did it influence how he then viewed the incident which in turn led him to tell the referee to included it in the match report.

This might sound a bit like conspiracy theory type of stuff, but something seems off and it certainly raises questions about the process. 

Joe Brolly says many things lots of them controversial and you can take what he says most of time with a pinch of salt, but even he thinks there is something strange going on.

He was speaking last night about it on 2fm’s Game on programme and he said he believed the incident was in the referees report and that’s a major concern. 

“The very odd thing about this case, and something that is rescuing the CCCC from a fatal legal problem, is that if this hadn’t been alerted to in the referee’s report, then the CCCC would not have been able to act because the official was fully aware of the incident at the time,” he said.

“The only assumption that arises is that the official decided that Diarmuid didn’t cross the line and that it didn’t warrant a card.

“In those circumstances it is extraordinary that if he (the linesman) took the view that he had crossed the line, that he didn’t immediately speak to his referee who was standing beside him.

“It’s a mystery as to how it wasn’t dealt with on the field, and then it turns up in the referee’s report as part of a ‘debrief’ after the game, while the sideline official, as I understand it, after the game, game is over, at an unspecified time, ‘Oh look, meant to tell you, I was pushed by Diarmuid Connolly’

Brolly went on further to say that if indeed the incident is in the referees match report it raises serious questions about the process and the match officials role in all this and it also conveniently shuts off the main avenue of defence for Connolly.

“There must be serious question marks as to how it came to be in the referee’s report considering that neither the referee or the official acted at the time.

“That is the problem here because it conveniently shuts off the main avenue of defence.

“It’s difficult to see how he [Connolly] can now defend it.”