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'You prod a bear, you get a reaction' - Pat Spillane reacts to Diarmuid Connolly flashpoint

Dublin star Connolly could face a 12-week ban after he clashed with linesman Ciaran Brannigan during Dublin’s victory over Carlow.

KERRY LEGEND PAT Spillane believes that Dublin star Diarmuid Connolly is in line for a 12-week ban.

On The Sunday Game, Spillane and fellow pundit Colm O’Rourke discussed Connolly’s altercation with linesman Ciaran Brannigan during Dublin’s victory over Carlow at O’Moore Park on Saturday night.

The GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) could take action against the St Vincent’s star following the incident.

The GAA’s Official Guide states that any form of ‘minor physical interference’ with a match official carries a minimum 12-week suspension in all codes and at all levels.

The Category V infraction covers inter-county and would see Connolly banned until an All-Ireland semi-final, if GAA disciplinary chiefs decide to act.

The rule is as follows:

Category V Infractions 5.36: To interfere with a Referee, Umpire, Linesman or Sideline Official – minor physical interference e.g. laying a hand on, pushing, pulling or jostling.

And Spillane said: “This is black or white, this is a very obvious thing.

“Diarmuid was infuriated that a sideline decision went (against him) and not giving the ball back. The pictures here it all.

“A picture tells a thousand words, clearly going to Ciaran Brannigan the linesman, clearly putting his hand on the sideline man, which he’s not entitled to do, clearly pushing the linesman which he’s not entitled to do, and clearly, with his finger pointed, threatening the linesman.

Diarmuid Connolly speaks to linesman Ciaran Branagan Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“He put his hands on the linesman, he pushed the linesman back and a finger pointed in someone’s face sounds to me like threatening. It’s minor physical interference, it carries a penalty of 12 weeks.”

O’Rourke agreed: ”The rule is very clear. Now it was minor physical interference but Diarmuid Connolly is  a man who lives on the edge.

“He’s had a couple of black cards this year, got one against Monaghan that I thought he shouldn’t have got, got one in the League final.

Paddy Neilan black cards Diarmuid Connolly Diarmuid Connolly is black-carded against Kerry in the Allianz League final. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“That has nothing to do with that incident last night but he’s a player that gets frustrated easily, he was playing poorly, got involved in a scrape and really could pay a heavy price for it.”

O’Rourke insisted that Connolly must learn to deal with being a marked man.

He said: “Through the history of Gaelic Football, every good forward has been targeted.

It’s up to Diarmuid Connolly to have the discipline to go out and play, knowing that in every game, he’s going to be targeted by at least one of the opposition. What does he expect teams are going to do with him?”

Spillane added: ”You prod a bear, you get a reaction. You prod Diarmuid Connolly, you antagonise Diarmuid Connolly and you always get a reaction.

Diarmuid Connolly is shown a black card by Joe McQuillan Diarmuid Connolly also picked up a black card against Monaghan in the Allianz League. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

“In his defence, you could say the linesman didn’t bring it to the referee’s attention, you might point to the fact that perhaps the referee didn’t see it.

“But you had a similar offence in a club match with Evan Comerford, the Tipperary goalie lately. Minor physical interference with a referee, as stated here. It looks like 12 weeks.”

And former Meath All-Ireland winner O’Rourke insisted that this latest episode doesn’t portray Connolly in a good light.

He said: “He doesn’t come out of it looking good.

“For me, he’s been the best player, or one of the best players for last five or six years, but there’s always this edge to his game and he crossed the line last night (Saturday).”

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