The GAA world just went into shock…
Diarmuid Connolly is now permitted to play for Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final replay. The GAA’s independent arbitration tribunal, the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), chaired by former Supreme Court Judge Hugh O’Flaherty made the drastic decision, upholding Connolly’s appeal.
No details of the determination have been released – it will be published in due course on the DRA website within the next two weeks – but the suspension is quashed.
According to the GAA’s official website,
“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.”
The GAA needs to prepare itself – because this issue won’t just blow over. Many have perceived the association’s disciplinary procedures as a farce this week, and the fact that Connolly’s appeal was won at 2.30am and released at 5am, twelve hours before throw in (after already making two appeals), looks and sounds ridiculous.
One must wonder how deflating this news will be for Mayo and oppositely, how much of a momentum boost will it give Dublin? The real question now, bar how the two teams will react, is how Jim Gavin will use his released weapon.
Will Connolly start? Or, with the game on the line with twenty minutes to go, does Gavin spring him from the bench, enticing a raucous roar from the Hill.
Time will tell. This story just keeps gaining more layers.
Garbh Madigan, Pundit Arena