Jim Gavin stands over claims that Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly was 'disrespected'

Dublin manager Jim Gavin is standing over his claim that Diarmuid Connolly's good name was attacked last month by some TV pundits, writes Brendan O'Brien.

Gavin took exception to the dissection of the player's actions during the Leinster football quarter-final defeat of Carlow last month when the St Vincent's forward directed a light shove at the chest of linesman Ciaran Brannigan.

Both RTÉ and Sky's deliberations were subsequently criticised by the Dublin boss in a press conference after the provincial semi-final defeat of Westmeath and this shortly after he had opted against giving the usual one-to-one post match interviews to broadcasters.

Diarmuid Connolly challenges linesman Ciaran Brannigan at last month's Dublin v Carlow game

His comments and actions at the time reignited the dissipating debate over the incident and Connolly's 12-week suspension and they also gave rise to an astonishing discussion on The Sunday Game later that evening when Joe Brolly and Dessie Dolan all but hung their colleague Pat Spillane out to dry.

'All I can say on that is that hopefully the lessons have been learnt and, from my part, if I believe that a player has been disrespected, and that Croke Park don’t step in and protect his good name, I’ve no option but to react as I did the last day.

"But, as I say, I hope the lessons have been learnt and we can move on.”

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning ahead of the weekend's Leinster final meeting with Kildare, Gavin was asked whether pundits were supposed to somehow remain silent on controversial issues until after the GAA's disciplinary arm had dealt with them.

"Absolutely there has to be debate, he replied. "That’s why there will be debates and great discussion coming into the game and after the game by supporters. But everybody is entitled to their opinion and to express that, really ... but as I said at the time, it’s not absolute.

"And if I feel that a player, his good name is being disrespected ... like he has ... Like all other sports, inter-county players have to go out on Monday morning and seek out a living and if their name has been damaged by that, I just feel that is above and beyond what Gaelic Games are about."

Gavin confirmed that there had been no discussions held with RTE since the Leinster final snub but hinted that all media would be "facilitated" this weekend. Whether that means a return to previous one-to-one protocols remains to be seen.

Connolly is supposed to be banned from all GAA activities for the duration of his ban, but there is at the very least a grey area as to what that actually entails.

Gavin reaffirmed that his player is working on an individual programme and talking to management but that he is also "doing a bit of skills with the backroom staff, so he’s working away in the background as best he can".

This, it seems, is the story that refuses to die.


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