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All-Ireland final set to be sell-out

By John Campbell

The GAA’s Central Council and the Dublin team management could be in line for timely All- Ireland football final boosts.

While the Croke Park authorities anticipate that Sunday week’s eagerly-awaited showdown between Pat Gilroy’s side and Kerry will prove a sell-out well in advance of the tie — unlike last week-end’s Kilkenny v Tipperary hurling decider — the Dubs themselves are hoping that the red card which Diarmuid Connolly incurred in the semi-final against Donegal will be rescinded.

Connolly was sent off by Laois referee Maurice Deegan in the second-half and was served with a four-week ban by the Central Competitions Control Committee.

However, he appealed the punishment and his hearing was scheduled for Croke Park last night.

Connolly’s dismissal ironically helped to spark Dublin’s best spell of the match and they ran out winners by 0-8 to 0-6 over Jim McGuinness’s side with manager Gilroy and his players expressing the view that they felt Connolly had been harshly treated.

Donegal substitute Marty Boyle subsequently became the butt of criticism for alleged play-acting which led to Connolly’s expulsion and Dublin officials felt this would be taken into account at last night’s hearing.

They were also optimistic that the hearing would take on board the possibility that referee Deegan may not have followed proper procedure when issuing Connolly with his card.

It is understood that he may not have taken his name prior to flashing the card, something that must be done under playing rule.

Depending on the outcome of last night’s hearing, the Dublin county board may yet take Connolly’s case to the Central Appeals Committee.

The Dubs could also have Paul Flynn and Rory O’Carroll in their All Ireland final line-up now that both are making considerable progress following the injuries they incurred against Donegal.

And as Central Council ponders the 81,314 attendance at the hurling final, it has now every reason to believe that this will be topped when Kerry and Dublin go into battle.

The demand for football final tickets is phenomenal particularly as Dublin will be striving to regain the Sam Maguire Cup for the first time in 16 years.

Belfast Telegraph


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