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Connolly comes off the bench to hit four from play in impressive return to action

He helped St Vincent’s to victory in their league opener amid ongoing speculation about a Dublin return.

Marino star Diarmuid Connolly (file pic).
Marino star Diarmuid Connolly (file pic).
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

DIARMUID CONNOLLY CAME off the bench to kick four points from play as St Vincent’s opened their league campaign yesterday.

The Marino outfit were 2-15 to 0-14 winners over Skerries Harps with Connolly producing a glittering cameo in his first competitive match since mid-October.

There’s been plenty of speculation recently about a potential return to Jim Gavin’s Dublin squad as they bid for five in-a-row and the the 31-year-old’s display yesterday will only add fuel to the fire and surely heighten the rumours once again.

Two weeks ago, the Irish Mirror’s Pat Nolan reported that Connolly had been doing one-on-one sessions with Dublin GAA’s high performance manager Bryan Cullen, who is also the All-Ireland champions’ strength and conditioning coach.

In that same article, it was reported that Jason Sherlock had stepped away from the backroom team but Gavin was quick to dispel any rumours the following day at Austin Stack Park with Sherlock on the line.

“I can confirm that that is certainly not the case,” he added in response to the suggestion that Connolly had been training with Cullen.

“If any player wants to volunteer their time for inter-county football, we’ll always look at them. The door has always remained open for any player who has either been with us in the past, or who wants to join us who hasn’t entered the squad yet.”

Two-time All-Star Connolly last appeared for the county as a substitute in their league clash against Mayo last February in Castlebar, and he spent the summer playing football in Boston.

Over the past few weeks, there has also been talk of a possible return to the county’s hurlers but manager Mattie Kenny effectively ruled the five-time All-Ireland SFC winner out of his plans at the weekend.

“No, he wasn’t,” Kenny frankly told reporters after their loss to Galway, as quoted by Newstalk, when asked if Connolly was on his radar. “I haven’t spoke to Diarmuid, no, the answer is that I haven’t spoken to him.

“I’m quite happy with the squad I have. We have a lot of talent and quality in our squad, so we’ve picked our squad for the league and this is what we’re moving on with,” the former Cuala boss concluded.

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Emma Duffy

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