Turlough O'Brien on Diarmuid Connolly: "A 12 week suspension for that is outrageous"

The Carlow manager joined Off the Ball on Saturday

BY Simon Maguire 18:13 Saturday 22 July 2017, 18:13 22 Jul 2017

Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly speaks to linesman Ciaran Branagan. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien joined the Saturday panel on Off the Ball and gave his take on the Diarmiud Connolly incident and subsequent suspension. 

Paul Rouse, a lecturer in Irish history and Sports history at UCD, and Keiran Cunningham from the Irish Daily Star joined O'Brien alongside Richie McCormack on the show to discuss, amongst other things, a possible new approach to sanctioning players.

Asked for his view of the Connolly incident at the time, O'Brien said: "My view at the time was that it was a Dublin line ball, first of all. And, the linesman flagged it for Carlow. Diarmuid Connolly didn't realise he had flagged it for Carlow. He'd gone to retrieve the ball.

"Our guys saw the flag our way so they went to get the ball from Diarmuid and it ended up a bit of a wrestling match and it just escalated a little bit and look, he had a few words with the linesman and he did put his hand on him but the disciplinary rules need an overhaul. 

"The suspension is too extreme for what happened. I had a lot of sympathy for him to be honest with you. Certainly he needed to be reprimanded in someway but a 12 week suspension for that is outrageous."

"My take on a lot of this is when referees send players off for an incident, they often write up the report by looking at the rule book first instead of describing what happened...and you can end up being charged with the more serious offence and once he does that - that's your suspension cast in stone...we'd be better to have three or four citing commissioners to look at an incident after a game, make a ruling on it and that's the end of it."

Paul Rouse agreed with O'Brien and criticised some of the media coverage of the incident as well. "The point about Connolly is very well made," he said, adding: "What he did was wrong, he shouldn't have done it obviously. But, a 12 week suspension, in the context on how it arrived into the referee's report after it having being dealt with at the time, doesn't seem to me to make sense afterwards. 

"And I do think that Pat Spillane went after it with a relish on The Sunday Game - that was a little bit hard to take. It was totally disproportionate to what happened."

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