DUBLIN STAR DIARMUID Connolly believes he doesn’t need to change his game, despite his recent disciplinary troubles.
Connolly picked up a black card in each of Dublin’s final two league games against Monaghan and Kerry, and he’s been the subject of criticism from ex-players and All-Ireland winners Colm O’Rourke and John O’Leary.
O’Leary urged Connolly to cut the “petulance” out of his game, while O’Rourke said the “play-acting of Diarmuid Connolly must be a concern to Dublin.”
“That’s external stuff, I can’t control that,” Connolly says.
“I don’t read the papers, I don’t listen to the radio so I’m oblivious to all the stuff. You can read the good stuff and you can read the bad stuff so it’ll all chip away at you so I just don’t bother.
“I don’t think I’m a cynical player by nature. A lot of my strengths are going forward and attacking and stuff like that. Obviously defending is part of the game as well. Of course it was frustrating to get that black card, but you just have to learn and move on.
“I’ve looked back at the (Kerry) game and I’ve no arguments about it. I felt like in the game I started well and I was moving well. A little bit of a rush of blood under the Cusack Stand curtailed me just before half-time.
“It was a black card under the letter of the law so you have to suck it up, learn, and move on. That’s all you can do.”
St Vincent’s went down to Slaughtneil in the All-Ireland club semi-final in February, and afterwards Connolly took an extended break from the county set-up.
He made his return off the bench against Roscommon before black cards curtailed his involvement against both Monaghan and Kerry.
The Dublin panel will return to club duties for the next month, before they’ll rejoin the county squad as they begin their defence of the Leinster SFC.
“You’ve got to train smart. It’s all about getting onto the field and trying to get a performance in. You have to have the body right first and that’s why I took the extended break.
“I’ve been on the road for the last two or three years without much of a break to be honest, so I took a little bit longer to come back this year. That’s why I didn’t come back until the Roscommon game.
“We’ve two months now to get really, really match sharp. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.
“You want to try get the best out of yourself. I’m already being written off, I’m 30 this summer. You want to add a little bit to your game year on year, game on game. You want to try and be the best player you can be on the field and try add as much as you can to the team. I’m looking forward to it.
“First of all we’ve probably got two football championship games and two hurling championship games. Then we’ve a four-week lead in to an opening round of championship, which looks like it’s going to be an away game for us. An away game, eh!”
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