Diarmuid Connolly is facing a 12-week ban for his actions in last Saturday’s Leinster SFC quarter-final win over Carlow, following a meeting of Croke Park’s Central Competitions Control Committee on Tuesday.
Connolly put his hand on the shoulder of linesman Ciaran Branagan after a sideline ball was awarded following a scuffle on the touchline. Referee Sean Hurson took no action at the time, though the CCCC has stepped in.
The CCCC met for its regular meeting on Tuesday to review footage of any incidents they felt warranted further scrutiny and the Dublin wing-forward will be proposed for a 12-week ban.
This suspension, if it sticks, will run out on the midnight before the second All-Ireland football semi-final, which takes place on 27 August. This is the game the Dubs will feature in should they get that far and go the direct route.
Connolly now has the choice of accepting the ban and biding his time in the hope of playing again later in the year.
Or he could ask for his case to appear before the Central Hearings Committee, who has the power to uphold, overturn, increase or decrease any punishment proposed by the CCCC.
If Connolly gets no joy from the CHC, he can then visit the Central Appeals Committee. After that lies the Disputes Resolution Authority, the independent body that acts as the GAA’s final court of appeal.
In 2015, Connolly earned a last-minute reprieve from the DRA after he picked up a ban during the drawn All-Ireland semi-final with Mayo, allowing him to play in the replay win.
In his RTÉ Online column, three-time Tyrone All-Ireland winner Philip Jordan said Dublin’s chances of doing a three in-a-row will be hit by Connolly’s absence.
"Without him Dublin aren’t the same team and without him their hopes of retaining the All-Ireland title are diminished," he wrote.
"Even with all of the defensive football we see, he seems to play most of his football in the opposition half, rather than his own half-back line, and he has the ability to pick a pass or kick a point off either foot from the ’45’.
"He’s as skilful a player is there is around and this means that people sometimes miss how hard he works. His work-rate is phenomenal and that brings others around him on because they see how much graft such a gifted footballer is willing to put in."