Sunday 18 August 2019

Diarmuid Connolly returns to Dublin squad to bolster push for five-in-a-row

Diarmuid Connolly. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Conor McKeon

Diarmuid Connolly has made a sensational return to the Dublin senior football squad.

In an interview with Dubs TV, the Dublin county board's online media channel, Gavin issued a squad update that included the revelation that Connolly had returned to the squad.

Independent.ie understands that the 32 year-old took part in a squad training session this morning.

Connolly hasn't played for Dublin since February 24 last year when he came on for Michael Darragh Macauley in the second-half of a two-point victory over Mayo in a League match in Castlebar.

That transpired to be his only inter-county appearance of the 2018 season.

Connolly then opted out of the Dublin squad last March and spent the subsequent summer in America playing with Donegal Boston, with whom he won a senior Championship.

Since then, Gavin has been consistent in his stance that the door was open for a return, reiterating as recently as Dublin’s Leinster SFC opening victory over Louth on May 25 that Connolly would be welcome back if he had a change of heart.

However, hopes of a return were seemingly quashed  last month when another sanction for a transfer to America was confirmed on the GAA's website.

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Connolly had been due to travel with St. Vincent’s team mate, Shane Carthy, back to the Donegal Boston club on June 27th.

However, due a technicality with his ESTA, Connolly was denied access to a flight and missed the subsequent deadline for registration in Boston.

Last week, he scored two goals off the bench in an AFL Division 1 match against Templeogue Synge Street although there had been no indication that a return was imminent until the clip featuring Gavin's revelation was released by the Dublin county board at midday today.

Connolly's last Championship appearance for Dublin came in the 2017 All-Ireland final victory over Mayo, when his second half performance contributed heavily to Dublin's third All-Ireland title in a row.

He could now come straight back into the Dublin squad for their Super 8s clash with Roscommon next Saturday in Croke Park (7.0).

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