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Emily Harney/INPHO Diarmuid Connolly in action for Donegal Boston last summer.
# denied entry
Donegal Boston confirm Diarmuid Connolly won't be joining them after visa issue
It’s believed Connolly will be able to have his sanction revoked and play with St Vincent’s in Dublin this summer.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 1st 2019, 1:13 PM

DIARMUID CONNOLLY WON’T be returning to play football in Boston this summer after he was denied entry to the US last week.

Connolly helped Donegal Boston to the Boston SFC title last year, but a “small problem” with his ESTA visa prevented him from boarding an Aer Lingus flight Stateside last Thursday, according to the club.

The ESTA is a 90-day holiday visa granted to visitors to the United States. Connolly had no issues getting into the country last year.

While his transfer to Donegal Boston officially went through on Thursday, J1 sanction rules dictate that the player must be in the country by the 1 July deadline in order to be eligible to play.

Because the 31-year-old failed to link up with the club in time, he now won’t be joining them this season.

“Diarmuid had a small problem with his ESTA which Aer Lingus were notified of,” Donegal Boston club chairman Paul Martin McDaid said in a statement released to The42.

“The problem is only minor and will hopefully be fixed in the embassy this week. However, our deadline is today, 1 July, so, unfortunately, Diarmuid will not make it over in time.

“Naturally we are all extremely disappointed as Diarmuid had a great impact on our club and Boston GAA both on and off the pitch last year.

“We’ve been made aware of rumours about Diarmuid being refused entry and that is not the case. We hope this clears things up.”

Diarmuid Connolly Emily Harney / INPHO Diarmuid Connolly helped Donegal Boston lift the Boston SFC title in 2018. Emily Harney / INPHO / INPHO

Typically, when a player is granted an overseas sanction he is ineligible to play for his home club for 30 days after the date it’s signed off by Croke Park. However, it is possible to have the sanction cancelled if the player does not make it over in time. 

“He can also get his sanction revoked and continue to play at home,” McDaid added.

“It’s a regular occurrence over here that a sanction goes up but the player does not get over to sign.”

The five-time All-Ireland winner left the Dublin panel in February 2018 and hasn’t lined out for the county since.

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Connolly’s Vincent’s team-mate Shane Carthy had his transfer authorised last week and encountered no problem gaining entry to the States as he grew up in New York.

Carthy, who also played with them last summer, lined out with Donegal Boston during their victory over Galway at the weekend. 

Former AFL player Ray Connellan of Westmeath, Tyrone forward Mark Bradley and ex-Laois star Gary Walsh have all joined Donegal Boston as they look to defend their title this season.

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