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'We have the highest regard for Diarmuid' - Dublin door not closed for Connolly

The star forward last lined out for Dublin in a league game in February.

Diarmuid Connolly celebrating last year's final victory over Mayo.
Diarmuid Connolly celebrating last year's final victory over Mayo.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

HE WAS NOT present to help Dublin to their latest All-Ireland triumph but the door is not closed on a potential return to their senior setup for attacker Diarmuid Connolly.

The mercurial forward last lined out for Dublin in a league game last spring against Mayo but has been absent for their 2018 championship campaign.

He helped Donegal Boston win a senior championship title last Sunday week after spending the summer in the US city. 

Connolly has been a key figure in Dublin’s five All-Ireland triumphs since 2011 that were achieved before Sunday’s win over Tyrone.

And selector Declan Darcy insists they have ‘the highest regard’ for Connolly and it is possible that he could be back in their plans next season.

“We have the highest regard for Diarmuid and we back him 110%. He’s due back in two weeks. If he’s playing to form, he’s happy, he wants to be part of the group and we feel he can fit into the group then absolutely.

“There are no issues from our end towards Diarmuid. Again, it’s an amateur sport. There are no having to do things, it’s all about choices. He decided this year that he needed to take a little bit if time away, and he should have been allowed that, and we allowed him to do that

“Jack McCaffrey left us, Rory O’Carroll left us, the same rules would apply to those players as Diarmuid. If he comes back, we have an awful lot of loyalty towards him.”

Darcy has seen players like Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey both rejoin the squad in recent times with a renewed energy after taking time out to go travelling. 

“I think when they go away the first thing they’ll say is they miss being in the group and when they come back they’re energised by it. It’s good for them I suppose and healthy in their own life cycle to do what they do and then come back.

“If they want to travel they should be allowed travel, do what they have to do and then come back and play football. Again, it’s very hard for them because it is a special group, to leave is a big decision.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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