Diarmuid Connolly has had 'minimal contact' with Dublin team-mates as speculation grows over 2018 absence
Diarmuid Connolly has had little contact with his St Vincent's and Dublin team-mates since his last inter-county appearance and isn't expected to feature in the Leinster championship opener, according to a report in the Sunday World.
The five-time All-Ireland champion had just one cameo during Dublin's National League campaign, appearing off the bench against Mayo in Castlebar, with Jim Gavin subsequently revealing that Connolly's absence was a mutually agreed break from the game.
However, speculation that Connolly might not take part in Dublin's four in-a-row bid has since intensified after the St Vincent's stalwart was absent from their first two club championship fixtures.
Usually an ever-present for his club team in both codes, Connolly's failure to tog out against Na Fianna yesterday was the latest indication that the double All Star may not feature in this year's All-Ireland championship.
Sunday World chief sports writer Roy Curtis is reporting today that Connolly has had 'minimal contact' with his Dublin team-mates since his brief National League appearance, and that at the moment it looks increasingly likely that the star forward won't make himself available in 2018.
The 30-year-old showed his worth to Gavin in last year's All-Ireland final, with his introduction at half time proving pivotal in securing the three in-a-row with a slender one-point victory over rivals Mayo.
However, 2017 was a tough year for Connolly, who missed three matches with a suspension for making contact with a linesman in Dublin's championship opener against Carlow.
He made his return to the bench for the All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone, but cut a frustrated figure at full time after Gavin opted to only spring him from the bench in injury time.
Connolly has won five All-Ireland titles and ten Leinster titles during his inter-county career with Dublin.