Monday 19 August 2019

'Jim Gavin doesn’t come across as a gambling type' - David Brady weighs in on Diarmuid Connolly's shock return

Diarmuid Connolly has returned to the Dublin panel. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Diarmuid Connolly has returned to the Dublin panel. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Tony Considine

Diarmuid Connolly's return to the Dublin set-up is a big boost to Jim Gavin's five in-a-row bid, according to former Mayo star David Brady.

Gavin announced Connolly's dramatic addition to the panel last Sunday, after Dublin saw off Cork by 13 points in their opening game of the Super 8s.

The St Vincent's star hasn't featured in blue since a brief National League cameo against Mayo in February 2018, with his last championship appearance coming 22 months ago against the same opposition in the All-Ireland final.

It remains to be see what role - if any - Connolly might play in the rest of the championship, with Saturday night's clash with Roscommon at Croke Park the first chance for the 32-year-old to see action.

Speaking on The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast in association with Bord Gais Energy, former Mayo midfielder Brady says that Connolly's return can only help Dublin.

"Bringing Diarmuid Connolly in is a positive," he said. "This bunch of Dublin players have history together and it’s a tight connection. It’s a closeness that other teams and counties could only dream of. You won’t have any outward negativity with Diarmuid coming back.

"Jim Gavin doesn’t come across as a gambling type. I know Rory O’Carroll came back and from a substitute perspective, he wasn’t afraid to introduce him. I think he’ll use Connolly before the end of the Super 8s.

"When he does appear, it’ll be asked how much can he bring to the table? Who’s he going to appear ahead of?

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"If you really look at it, Jim Gavin is saying ‘Have I got the bench I used to have?’. The likes of James McCarthy is coming back from injury but bar Dean Rock, I don’t personally think Dublin have had the challengers coming from the bench to push the guys for a starting place. 

"Rock came on and scored five points and he’s probably frustrated he’s not starting games but after that, you’ve Kevin McManamon, Eoin Murchan, Eoghan O’Gara, Paddy Small. You’re asking are these guys really making the impact and really challenging?

"I think this is probably upping the ante from a forward’s perspective saying, ‘I need someone who can challenge and come on and make a real contribution no matter what the scoreboard says’. I think Connolly can do that."

Outside of the forward line, Brady also believes that Connolly’s influence at training can also sharpen the backs as Dublin reach the business end of the drive-for-five.

"Is he coming back to better the team in training games? You can guarantee that whoever is marking him in training games may find it easier on game day," hed added.

But while Brady is sure that Connolly will see game-time in the Super 8s, the 1996 All-Ireland runner-up is less certain of the returning player’s chances once we get beyond that stage.

"We can all guarantee one thing, he’s not the Diarmuid Connolly, fitness-wise, of old," Brady concluded.

"But you can’t deny class and he has it.

"Whether he plays in an All-Ireland semi-final or final is questionable but he’ll definitely introduce him at some stage.

"You need to get that over with to get the conversation finished, so it’s not that ‘will he, won’t he make an appearance?’ Probably in the last Super 8 game, he will."

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