Diarmuid Connolly cleared to face Mayo by DRA
Dublin star Diarmuid Connolly will tog out against Mayo this evening after his red card from last week's drawn game was overturned in the early hours of the morning by the Disputes Resolution Authority.
The DRA have released a statement on the decision:
At a hearing on 4 September at the Regency Hotel Airport in Dublin, a DRA Panel chaired by former Supreme Court judge Hugh O'Flaherty (with solicitors David Nohilly and Brian Rennick) upheld a claim by Diarmuid Connolly against a one match ban arising out of an infraction during the drawn Mayo v Dublin All-Ireland semi final of Sunday, August 30.
The Panel's decision related to lack of fair procedure afforded to Mr. Connolly at an early stage in the GAA's internal disciplinary process which unfairly hindered the preparations for, and presentation of, his defence. Mr Connolly was thus free to play in the replay of the above match on 5 September.
This statement is for informational purposes only. A full, written award reflective of the hearing as a whole, will be issued by the above DRA Panel within two weeks and will be published on sportsdra.ie.
The DRA made the announcement at 2.35am, less than 16 hours before the throw in of the eagerly anticipated game this evening.
Connolly was sent off in last week's drawn game by referee Joe McQuillan after a tussle with Mayo's Lee Keegan.
Connolly tried to get the red card, and the subsequent ban, overturned at the Central Hearings Committee on Wednesday night but that bid failed.
A second appeal, at the Central Appeal Committee, was rejected in the early hours of Friday morning.
However, at the third and final level of appeal, the DRA, the St Vincent's man got his wish.
In the short-term the decision to clear the current All Star is a huge boost to Dublin ahead of today’s clash. Jim Gavin delayed naming any team until the outcome of the DRA hearing was known.
But Connolly’s availability means that Gavin could, for example, start without specialist free taker Dean Rock – who was substituted at half time last Sunday – as Connolly is an accomplished free taker.
However, the fact that he didn’t know until the early hours of this morning that he was free to play is hardly the ideal preparation for Connolly and one wonders how much the whole affair has impacted on the team’s mental preparation.
But for now the likely re-match between Connolly and Keegan promises to be another intriguing sub-plot in a match in which referee Eddie Kinsella could have difficulty controlling.
The long term impact of the quashing of the ban will be interesting. The details of why the DRA came to their decision will be published in due course on the DRA website.
But the Connolly and Keane decisions raises huge doubts about the capacity of the GAA’s disciplinary system to make suspensions stick during the concluding stages of the All-Ireland series.
The DRA was set up set up ten years ago as a forum to deal with cases which otherwise would end up in the High Court which had become the norm in controversial disciplinary cases.
What’s particular interesting about this case is that the chairmen of the two committees that approved the Connolly suspension, Liam Keane of the Central Hearings Committee and Matt Shaw of the Central Appeals Committee are practising lawyers and are also both former secretaries of the DRA.