Monday 18 December 2017

'Jim is very much into whoever owns the jersey' - Alan Brogan on Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly dilemma

Dublin manager Jim Gavin consoles Diarmuid Connolly after he received a red card
Dublin manager Jim Gavin consoles Diarmuid Connolly after he received a red card
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Jim Gavin will have been happy with Dublin's comprehensive All-Ireland quarter-final win over Monaghan last weekend, but he now faces a number of challenging selection decisions ahead of the semi-final clash with Tyrone.

Last Saturday's victory saw the return of All Stars Michael Darragh MacAuley and Paul Flynn, while Gavin was also able to call upon former Footballer of the Year Bernard Brogan from an impressive replacements bench.

The battle against Mickey Harte's men will further increase Dublin's options, with Diarmuid Connolly set to return from a three month ban.

Read more: 'Jim Gavin became obsessed with blanket defences after Donegal shock' - Alan Brogan on Dublin-Tyrone

Gavin previously started Connolly in the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo, when his star forward was only cleared of a suspension in the early hours of that morning, so the Dublin boss may be willing to reinstate the double All Star to his team for the crunch clash with Tyrone.

However, speaking on this week's episode of The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast, Dublin legend Alan Brogan says that he expects Connolly to take his place on the Dublin bench alongside his brother for the match in just under three weeks time.

"I think he will start him off the bench," Brogan said.

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"Jim is very much into whoever owns the jersey and is doing well tends to hold onto it. He has put Diarmuid in before after a suspension in 2015. He put him back into the team at the 12th hour. I think he will stick with what he has. He has some interesting decisions to make because we saw with his subs at the weekend, because if you bring Diarmuid in you would have to leave one of them off. There will probably be one big name who won't play any part in the team on Sunday fortnight."

Herald journalist Conor McKeon took a different view to Brogan, stating that he felt portions of Dublin's tactics against Monaghan were a dress rehearsal for the Tyrone encounter, and to that end, he could see Connolly coming into the team for Eric Lowndes, who was named at wing back but started at wing forward.

"I think there was a certain element of what Dublin did against Monaghan that was in preparation for Tyrone," McKeon said.

"Picking Eric Lowndes at wing forward could possibly either be an easy way to get Diarmuid Connolly back in the team or possibly with an eye to someone man-marking Peter Harte.

"I have a feeling he will [start Connolly] because Dublin will need players to score from range. You could back to when Dublin played Donegal in 2014 and Connolly and Paul Flynn kicked four or five points from range. I think they'll need that."

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Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly Championship podcast, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every Monday, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé, Brendan Cummins and John Mullane.

Subscribe and listen to The Throw-In podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

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