Thursday 19 September 2019

Mystery solved: How Diarmuid Connolly ended up wearing a Leitrim top on All-Ireland final day

Diarmuid Connolly sports a Leitrim training top while greeting President Mary McAlesse prior to the 2011 All-Ireland football final
Diarmuid Connolly sports a Leitrim training top while greeting President Mary McAlesse prior to the 2011 All-Ireland football final

Kevin Nolan

IT'S not often a Leitrim top is part of All-Ireland SFC Final day on-field attire, but Diarmuid Connolly changed all that in 2011. As can be seen in the picture the Dublin and St Vincent's legend donned a Leitrim top in the pre-game formalities.

It begs two questions — one we can answer, the other we'll have to leave to local folklore. Where did he get the top? Why did he wear it?

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Diarmuid's brothers Keith and Tomás have both played inter-county hurling — younger brother Tomás is a member of the current Dublin senior panel while older brother Keith declared for Leitrim.

Diarmuid himself is a fine hurler and represented Dublin at U21 level, winning a Leinster U21HC, as well as at Colleges level, being a key player for the combined Dublin Colleges team in their All-Ireland glory of 2006 when they defeated St Flannan's, Ennis (1-11 to 0-11) to lift the Dr Croke Cup.

nolly-Lory-Meagher-crop.jpg
11 February 2011; Keith Connolly, from Leitrim, is presented with his Lory Meagher award by Uachtarán CLG Criostóir Ó Cuana. Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard, Lory Meagher Champion 15 & Rounds All Star Awards 2010, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Older brother Keith had captained Leitrim's hurlers, who reached the Lory Meagher Cup semi-final in 2010 and was honoured on the Lory Meagher Team of the Year.

That solves the first question, but why did he wear it?

Well rumour around Marino suggests that a certain person, we won't say who, mischievously replaced one of his Dublin tops with the Leitrim one in his kitbag on the morning of the 2011 All-Ireland decider.

Fact or fiction?

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Anyway, when the players lined up to meet President Mary McAleese the Dublin forward didn't look too upset with the wardrobe malfunction before he proceeded to play an influential role in that dramatic final that ended Dublin's 16-year wait for the Sam Maguire.

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