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Diarmuid Connolly Speaks On Hair Ruffling Incident - Reveals Different Attitude To Dub Co. Board

Diarmuid Connolly Speaks On Hair Ruffling Incident - Reveals Different Attitude To Dub Co. Board
By Conor Neville
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The ingenious tactic du jour of this championship summer seems to be 'get all up in Diarmuid Connolly's face and pray that he gets himself the line in the ensuing scuffle'.

That is the cleverest tactic anyone in Leinster has dreamed up thus far.

In his typically spikey annual report last year, Dublin's zealously protective GAA chief John Costello had a pop at Darragh O'Sé (he always has a pop at someone in his annual report) for arguing that there was 'something to be said for pulling his (Connolly's) tail and seeing if he'll hiss back at you'.

O'Sé suggested that opposing players should rile Connolly to see how reformed is his temper, rather in the manner of a probation officer.

Costello described O'Sé's column as 'inflammatory', 'mean-spirited' and tantamount to placing a target on Connolly.


Connolly, himself, however, is philosophical about such tactics. The nagging and the attempts to get a rise out of him is just part of the game.


I think the referee dealt with it there and then. I was a bit frustrated, but look, that's part and parcel of the game as well.

No it's a yellow card offence.

I don't think it was a factor (Westmeath players' attempts to goad him), I was just more frustrated with how I was playing myself and that's what happened.

We have two high-profile incidents of hair ruffling in Croke Park in the past twelve months. First, Darren Hughes patted Tiernan McCann's magnificently maintained mop in last year's notorious All-Ireland quarter-final. And this year James Dolan gratuitously tousled Connolly's rather more conservative coiffure in the Leinster Final.

Tiernan responded to the hair-tousling by flopping dramatically on the floor and playing at being injured for a useful amount of time.

Connolly responded in a more outwardly macho fashion, namely, by grabbing Dolan in a headlock and inevitably prompting a group scuffle on the floor.


Tiernan's was the more immediately wilier response, securing, as it did, the red carding of his opponent and giving Tyrone a numerical advantage for the remainder of the game.

Connolly's response secured little more than a yellow card for himself and prompted yet more discussion about his febrile temper.

In the days and hours following, Tiernan's response generated infinitely greater moral outrage. Diving, unlike grabbing lads in headlocks, implies a deficit rather a surfeit of honest to goodness manliness. It also implies a calculated degree of cynicism on the part of the guilty man.


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