Thursday 19 January 2017

Diarmuid Connolly has to 'suck it up and get on with it' - Ex-Dublin star on Lee Keegan battle

Published 28/09/2016 | 02:30

Former Dublin footballer Ger Brennan Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Former Dublin footballer Ger Brennan Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Former Dublin centre-back Ger Brennan believes star forward Diarmuid Connolly "gets a bad rap" but warns he has to "suck it up and get on with it" ahead of Saturday's All-Ireland football final replay clash with Mayo in Croke Park.

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Brennan made the comments as Connolly's running battle with Mayo's Lee Keegan takes centre stage as the build-up to Saturday's eagerly-anticipated replay heated up.

"Any forward is going to be targeted by a back, and that comes with the territory," said Brennan, as AIG offered Dublin supporters the chance to take advantage of discounted insurance.

"Obviously the better you are, the more attention you are going to get and you call it gamesmanship or whatever you want to call it, I'm fine with that.

"And if he's getting that attention then he has to suck it up and get on with it.

"He's not one for giving out to linesmen or referees or umpires, maybe does he have to do that? Or someone has to do that on his behalf?

"If he played a bit closer to the Mayo goalmouth for a couple of minutes, maybe Keegan mightn't get away with as much of the pulling and dragging - which I'm fine with too as a back, if you can get away with it, go for it!"

Brennan believes his St Vincent's clubmate has improved his discipline over the last couple of years.

"I think he gets a bad rap, really. He just stands his ground.

"I think if you look at his discipline maybe five years ago, maybe it's a different story in terms of how he reacted but if someone is constantly pulling and dragging at you and the umpires or referees aren't going to take some sort of action to stamp it out, then eventually you have to stand your own ground."

"The best way obviously to do it is to get the ball and stick it over the bar and set up key plays."

"When someone of Lee Keegan's calibre is marking you, it's a tougher challenge to get away from him.

"But that's the challenge that you have to step up to if you want to be one of the best players."

Brennan also went on to state that in his experience not all officials are willing to get their hands dirty in terms of calling referees' attention to off-the-ball stuff.

"They would warn you, in fairness, and some umpires and probably better at that than other umpires.

"I think in an All-Ireland final, some umpires mightn't have the confidence to make a call to the referee that number so and so is continuously at the number 11 and it needs to be stamped out.

"It's all part of the game, and you have to play the referee as well. You have to see what you can get away with in terms of what's acceptable."

Brennan also backed Bernard Brogan and Paul Flynn to roar back to form in the replay.

"Knowing them personally, they won't be massively content with how they performed the last day and that will drive them on.

"If you look over the last six or seven years Bernard and Paul have been the first two names down on the team-sheet and they have always come up with the goods and I think Jim will keep faith in both guys that they will come up with the goods in the replay."

Irish Independent

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