John Small - Leinster Final

The Red Carded defender John Small will not face punishment by lifting the Delaney Cup after Sunday’s Leinster Final

As if receiving a straight red card after only minutes on the pitch in Sunday’s Leinster Final, it was suggested that Dublin back John Small could be in trouble for joining his team mates to celebrate their Championship win.

But earlier this year a motion at congress was passed which means Small did no wrong when enjoying the post match festivities.

The Ballymun star was called into the action for Dublin in the 52nd minute of Sunday’s Senior Football provincial tie with Laois, but only lasted 6 minutes on the pitch. Derry referee Barry Cassidy deemed Small to have struck Laois forward Evan O’Carroll, although watching countless replays, and seeing John’s reaction to the sending, it is quite clear that the foul was unintentional.

From every angle bar one, Small’s gaze is fixed on the ball, not the player. As O’Carroll was already on the ground, Small’s outstretched arm pointed down toward the ball, and as he connected his handed clearly bounces off the ball and connects with O’Carroll.

Dublin will appeal suspension

Dublin don’t play now for another couple of weeks, but it is expected that the County Board and the Dublin management will contest the referees decision on the sending off and appeal the 1 match ban handed to John.

Having the spend around a quarter of an hour away from the action, it’s only logical that Small wanted to rejoin his team mates after the final whistle to celebrate their historic eight Leinster Final victory.

Up to last year the rules of the GAA stated that a player sent of in a final “shall not participate in the After Match Presentation Ceremony” or risk incurring an additional one-match ban.

But last February, a proposal at Congress by the Down County Board to allow red carded players to be involved in the celebrations was passed by 89% of delegates.

It’s likely the Dublin management were aware of this to allow John celebrate with the team, as they had already done their homework, allowing Andy Bunyan replace Stephen Cluxton in the panel on Sunday, despite Cluxton’s name being printed in the programme.

GAA rules allow teams to make an 11th-hour change if their goalkeeper is unable to play.

Stay tune to www.wearedublin.com for updates on both John Small’s ban and Stephen Cluxton’s injury progress.