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Connolly 'always has home with Dubs' - Sherlock opens up on early-season absence

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Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Jason Sherlock has said Dublin football will always have a home for "massive servants" to the cause like Diarmuid Connolly.

The Dublin selector last night went some way to explaining the rationale behind the decision to recall Connolly last July, in the wake of his aborted plans to play football in Boston. The St Vincent's star went on to play his part, off the bench, in driving the Dubs to an historic All-Ireland five-in-a-row last month.

"Diarmuid has been a massive servant for Dublin football over the last number of years. No different than any player, Dublin GAA will always have a home for players that give that service," Sherlock told RTÉ 2FM's 'Game On'.

"And ultimately we look at players - we look at them as individuals and we look as players.

"Again, from my perspective, there wasn't a whole lot of conversation in it. Once Diarmuid kind of intimated that he wanted to be a part of it, there wasn't a whole lot in terms of my own involvement, apart from that.

Sherlock also spoke about his own – far briefer – absence from the Dublin set-up at the start of the season, prompting widespread media speculation that he had departed Gavin’s management team. 

That rumour was put to bed when the 1995 All-Ireland winner hopped off the team bus in Tralee for Dublin’s third league outing of the season.

Yet, recalling that period when he was marked absent from the Dublin sideline for top-flight games against Monaghan and Galway, Sherlock admitted that he had taken some time to figure out things “in my own head”.

“I’d like to think that any team I’ve been involved in, I just want to serve the players as best I can,” he explained.

“And, no different than any year, I was questioning and challenging that. Yeah, sometimes that takes a while to get through and I’ve no doubt that will happen this year, and it’ll happen with any team that I’m involved in.”

On the more general issue of widespread criticism of the funding advantages enjoyed by Dublin GAA – and the inferred slight on the current team’s staggering achievements – Sherlock gave a nuanced response.

“I’m not saying one side is right or one side is wrong,” he began. “What I suppose is challenging for me is how entrenched it’s got. It seems to be Dublin versus everyone else, which I don’t think is a good starting point.

“Unfortunately, it’s a multi-layered challenge and kind of problem, because it involves so many different stakeholders.

“But, ultimately, I want a sustainable model and the reality is, based on GAA and populations and stuff like that, is it going to be fair for every 32 counties? It’s going to be a challenge.”

Irish Independent