Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney talk about the St Vincent’s star’s impact on the game and Dublin football.
Diarmuid Connolly last night called time on a glittering Dublin career that will go down in history as one of the most scrutinized of all time, according to Michael Verney.
“Has there ever been a more discussed GAA player in the history of the GAA? Twitter and social media feed into that,” he says.
“He has packed so much into a career and I’ve mentioned very little about the brilliance on the pitch.
“I remember being sent to Parnell Park a couple of years ago to do ‘Dermo Watch’. That’s the allure he had, everyone just loves talking about him.”
The forward announced his retirement from Dublin last night via a statement on Twitter, as he finishes his inter-county playing days with six All-Ireland medals, ten Leinster titles and a pair of All Stars.
Connolly’s legacy has been discussed in length since the announcement with the St Vincent’s man one of the GAA’s great enigmas, as Verney recalls the reaction to his warm up vest prior to the 2017 All-Ireland final.
“He stands out like a sore thumb and then he comes on and it was probably his best All-Ireland performance.
“He pulled Dublin over the line and there’s some guys that are individuals and you just have to go with that.
“A phenomenal player allied with a mad personality with the attention he got.”
Part of Connolly’s appeal was his secretive nature as he rarely spoke to the media.
One such time he did was during the 2017 when Connolly spoke about the importance of playing with Vincent’s as he now returns to the club where “it all starts and where it all finishes”.
Connolly joins Bernard Brogan, Eoghan O’Gara, Darren Daly and Jack McCaffery as multiple All-Ireland winners in leaving the Dublin panel in recent months, with a growing opportunity for contenders to end Dublin’s dominance in the championship.
“There’s a lot of leaders gone out of the dressing-room. There’s a lot of experience, calming influences. It’s unseen work.
“They may not be delivering on the pitch anymore but they are delivering outside the white line.
“Jim Gavin would have probably used some of the older lads. Experience is vital, you can’t buy it and there’s a lot of experience gone from the dressing room.
“They have a new manager in. Things are going to be different, new systems, new trains of thought and it’s a good bit more difficult.”
“The opposition should be steeling themselves, this is a chance they might not get again for a couple of years.”
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