Former Dublin captain Alan Brogan has admitted it’s “strange” that Diarmuid Connolly, who turns 30 shortly, is still getting involved in disciplinary flareups, describing the latest issue as “Groundhog Day”.
Connolly has been hit with a proposed 12-week suspension for minor physical interference with linesman Ciaran Branagan during last weekend’s Leinster quarter-final win over Carlow.
The proposed ban, which the back-to-back All-Ireland champions are expected to contest, would rule Connolly out of action until an All-Ireland semi-final, presuming they make it that far.
It’s the latest in a long line of disciplinary headaches for Connolly who, since last November alone, has picked up three black cards and was booked against Carlow.
Brogan, who partnered Connolly in Dublin’s attack until retiring after their 2015 All-Ireland win, said he’s surprised that that 29-year-old, who turns 30 next month, is still ending up in situations like the current mess.
“Yeah, it is strange, you would expect a fella at this stage of his career to be more experienced, to not get involved in situations like that,” said Brogan. “In my own career, I would have been involved in lots of situations early on but as time goes on you just learn to deal with that attention a bit better and obviously Dermot gets lots of attention, from opposition defenders, ‘pulling the tail’ or whatever it was referred to by one pundit, but you would think he would be a little bit smarter at this stage in terms of how he deals with that.
“I’m sure it’s something himself and Jim Gavin, and the management, have discussed because he needs to keep the head a little bit and just start dealing with the situations.
“He is scrutinised more now than probably any other player in Ireland. He should know if he does anything to step out of line, it’s going to be picked up.”
Brogan said he has some sympathy for Connolly in terms of the duration of the ban which, he argued, is much too severe.
“I think you’ve got to look at each case on its own merits, I don’t think it was an aggressive gesture towards the linesman,” Brogan said.
“I thought it was more that he was making a point. He was after being involved in a bit of a schemozzle on the sideline with three Carlow lads. He thought it was his line ball and I think he was just pointing that out, rather than anything else. It definitely wasn’t a push. To me, it looked harsh, but, as they say, the rules are the rules.”
Brogan also questioned why defender Philly McMahon received a one-match ban following verbal abuse in the league final, while Connolly received a time-based suspension of 12 weeks.
“If this happened in an All-Ireland final he wouldn’t miss a county match whereas it happens now and he could miss three matches,” noted Brogan. “That part of it just doesn’t make sense to me, the way the suspensions are meted out.
“If they said to him, ‘right, it’s a two-game suspension’, I think Dublin would probably swallow that but 12 weeks just seems over the top, for what the incident was.”
Brogan admitted that Connolly has been ‘foolish’ though and ultimately has nobody to blame but himself.
“It’s like Groundhog Day again,” he said. “Diarmuid probably was foolish to do it. He should know, at this stage, that he just can’t get involved in situations like that.”
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