DUBLIN face the prospect of losing midfielder, Johnny McCaffrey, for three matches following the Lucan Sarsfields man’s straight red card on Saturday night in the Walsh Cup victory over Galway.
McCaffrey was sent to the line by Westmeath official, Barry Kelly, after a late pull on Niall Cahalan during injury time in the first half of a one-point win and is likely to be recommended for a four-week ban — the minimum disciplinary sanction he can receive.
Barring a successful appeal, McCaffrey will miss next Sunday’s Walsh Cup final clash with Kilkenny but more significantly, Dublin’s opening two NHL Division 1 matches.
Anthony Daly’s men begin their campaign away to Waterford on February14 — a fixture which resulted in a 13-point defeat for Dublin on the opening day of last season.
In addition, McCaffrey would sit out one of Dublin’s two league fixtures in Croke Park when All-Ireland champions, Tipperary, come to HQ on February 19th.
“How many times do we see that, a fella just mistiming it,” said Daly in defence of his player.
“Johnny’s not a dirty player, his track record would be awful clean. That wouldn’t be his form at all.”
On the subject of a possible appeal, Daly was unsure. “I don’t know,” he responded. “If we can we will.”
Any possible appeal would hinge on video evidence showing that McCaffrey’s pull was not as serious as it looked in real time to Kelly and although the live TG4 camera were not rolling for Saturday’s curtain raiser, Dublin did video the match for their own purposes.
Already, Dublin will be missing David Treacy, Shane Stapleton (both cruciates), Alan McCrabbe (hip), David Curtin and Niall McMorrow (ankle) for the foreseeable future while Barry O’Rorke is tied up with Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland club run and will miss both the Waterford and Tipperary matches at least.
Daly expects several potential first-team players — including Tomás Brady, Oisín Gough, Peter Kelly and Liam Rushe — to return after sitting out due to third level commitments.
– Conor McKeon – Evening Herald