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GAA referees incensed at overturning of red card

By Declan Bogue

The GAA could be in danger of a referees' revolt, following last weekend's sensational overturning of Diarmuid Connolly's red card, received in the drawn All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo.

Connolly was freed to play in the replay last Saturday, after a late-night meeting of the Disputes Resolution Authority on Friday that lasted seven hours.

This latest reversal of a suspension is understood to have provoked much anger among the panel of elite referees, who are considering asking for a response from the very highest levels of GAA administration and of the disciplinary structures.

A statement published on about Connolly's case explained that "the Panel's decision related to lack of fair procedure afforded to Mr Connolly at an early stage in the GAA's internal disciplinary process which unfairly hindered the preparations for, and presentation of, his defence.

"Mr Connolly was thus free to play in the replay of the above match on 5 September."

A more detailed account of the hearing will be released within a fortnight.

This has dismayed not only the panel of referees, but also has caused much surprise among the legal representatives on behalf of the GAA.

There is no doubt the current disciplinary structure is under extreme pressure, with decisions from the All-Ireland quarter-finals subject to an incredible number of overturns.

From Connolly's red card in the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final against Donegal, to Conor Gormley's retrospective red card against Monaghan in 2013, Lee Keegan's red against Kerry in last year's semi-final, through to this year with decisions thrown out on Tiernan McCann, Kevin Keane and Diarmuid Connolly again, there is serious anger as referees consider their next step.

Belfast Telegraph


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