“A GAA team training with nine people was front page news and I don’t think it warrants it.”
Diarmuid Connolly has hit out at the 12-week ban given to Dublin manager Dessie Farrell for the training session that took place at Innisfails GAA club last week, describing it as “extreme at best”.
Connolly also believes there has been a “huge overreaction” to the story.
Farrell was initially handed a 12-week ban from the Dublin County Board with a statement reading: “The Dublin senior football management and players recognise that this was a serious error of judgement and apologise unreservedly for their actions.”
However according to the Irish Independent, the GAA are poised to declare bans on both Farrell and Seamus McEnaney (Monaghan manager) ‘null and void’ ahead of a further investigation, which is expected to result in similar suspensions if the parties involved are found to have been in breach of restrictions.
Speaking about the incident, Connolly didn’t hold back when talking about the “huge overreaction” to the story that broke last week.
“Dublin made a mistake. They’ve apologised for it and they’ve accepted the responsibility,” the two-time All-Star told Boylesports.
“There has to be a sanction put down but Dessie Farrell has taken a 12-week ban which is extreme at best.
“With all that is going on in the media at the moment, a GAA team training with nine people was front page news and I don’t think it warrants it. It was a huge overreaction.
“I’m not trying to make light of this either, there are restrictions in place and the whole country has been in lockdown for a long time.
“Dublin have absolutely made a mistake here but as much as they are portrayed as robots, they are human and they make mistakes like everybody else. They have accepted responsibility now and hopefully we can move on quickly from this.”
The six-time All-Ireland winner also questioned the GAA and the Government on why elite status was removed in January, a decision which led to collective inter-county training being banned by the Association.
“My question to the powers that be is, why was the elite status removed? It’s still there for rugby and soccer and the GAA had elite status this time last year,” Connolly added.
“Only 0.1 per cent of transmission is related to outdoor activity at the moment and there’s also a big question over mental health.
“It’s hard not to be training but the roadmap is a positive and now we have something to look forward to. Hopefully it will give everybody a lift.”