Dublin have reacted with disappointment at the GAA’s decision to reject their appeal against the red card shown to Mick Fitzsimons during the Allianz Football League victory over Mayo earlier this month.
The Cuala defender missed the comprehensive win over Kerry at Croke Park as he served a one match suspension.
Fitzsimons was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Aidan O'Shea that appeared more mistimed than malicious in their four-point win in Castlebar.
Dublin unsuccessfully appealed the suspension but the red card was upheld, much to the dismay of manager Jim Gavin. He told The42.ie:
“Surprised is probably an understatement. We were here on Thursday night at the Central Hearings Committee meeting and we had to demonstrate conclusive evidence that his foul wasn’t a Category III offence – dangerous play – and we’d footage from eir Sports, great footage, to show conclusively that it wasn’t dangerous play.
“It was deemed that we didn’t conclusively demonstrate that, which for those of us who played the game and coach the game and understand that if a player is leaning in to take a shot and all the indicators are that he is going to shoot, then you commit yourself to the block.
“It was a great offload by Aidan O’Shea at the last moment and Michael was committed with momentum to the block. At the time I thought it was a free out for the over-carry but that aside, it’s a minor point.
“Aidan O’Shea’s great off his left foot and he needs to be blocked and Michael commits the block and there’s a minimum contact and no reaction from the Mayo players.
“Aidan gets up and plays on and it’s deemed that there was a Category III offence, which I believe is bizarre. Maybe there’s an objective to sanitise the game of Gaelic football and I look at the hurling fraternity and they’ve kept the physicality in their game and it’s a great sport because of it so we just need to be mindful of that.
Gavin is not content with what he perceives as an injustice in upholding the suspension, and he refused to rule out taking the fight on in a bid to clear the players name, despite the fact he is already cleared to play having served the suspension:
“It’s a consideration yeah. It is. We’ve just got a report back, official correspondence to the county board, and the officers showed me that it wasn’t accepted. It was bizarre.
“James McCarthy took a big hit in the opening of the second half and he got up, no drama. You want physicality in the game and if a player commits to the tackle, times it – if you want to keep that in our games.
“Even there tonight, some great challenges there, committing to the ball, that’s first and foremost. It’s important that we keep that in the game; that’s what makes it so attractive and for the players it makes it attractive for them to play.”