Connolly potentially back in mix for Rossies

by Cóilín Duffy
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DIARMUID Connolly may feature in the Dublin squad for this weekend’s Super 8’s clash against Roscommon on Saturday in Croke Park (7pm).

In a video released by Dublin GAA on their social media channels on Sunday, Jim Gavin mentioned in passing the St Vincent’s club man’s return to Dublin training, while listing out a number of players who were coming back into the frame including Ballyboden’s Robbie McDaid.

Connolly hasn’t featured since February 2018, when Dublin beat Mayo by 2-10 to 0-12 in the league, when he came on as a 43rd minute substitute.

He returned to club action 10 days ago, scoring two goals as a substitute in St Vincent’s 3-16 to 0-10 Division 1 league win over Templeogue Synge Street.

Connolly trained with Dublin squad on Sunday morning at Scoil Uí Chonaill, and is sure to be a major asset in the Dubs ‘drive for five’, having already won five All-Ireland SFC titles, 10 Leinster crowns and four National Leagues. Not to forget his two All-Star awards, and five Dublin SFC’s and two All-Ireland Club titles with St Vincent’s.

Dublin enter Saturday’s game with the best scoring difference of any of the sides in Super 8’s action after Round 1, despite being handed a testing opener against Cork.

Gavin’s side had 13 points to spare at the finish on a 5-18 to 1-17 score-line, where goals were ultimately key before 30,214 spectators at Croke Park.

Cork made a strong start and led by 0-4 to 0-0 early on with Kevin O’Driscoll, Seán White, Paul Kerrigan and Ruairí Deane all scoring from play, but ultimately Dublin’s resilience and fire-power helped them over the line, something which pleased Gavin.

“This Dublin team has been very resilient over the years. They (Cork) got it back to three points in the second half and our lads responded very well to that. It was all hands on deck,” he said.

“I think we did well to limit Cork to 1-17, they are a very potent side. We might have got a penalty claim (early on) but they looked really strong. We probably took out goal chances a bit better than they did, and that was the difference in the end.”

Dublin led by three points entering the final 12 minutes of normal time, before hitting Cork with a late hat-trick, outscoring the Rebels by 3-4 to 0-4 in the closing minutes.

A 46th minute Luke Connolly penalty cut the gap to two points for Cork, but Niall Scully; Ciaran Kilkenny and Brian Fenton grabbed late goals.

Jonny Cooper then entered to make his first appearance of the campaign, with James McCarthy also introduced.

Meanwhile, the final round fixtures of the Super 8’s have been confirmed. Dublin will travel to Healy Park, Omagh to face Tyrone on Sunday August 4 at 4pm, while at the same time in Pairc Uí Rinn, Cork host Roscommon.

The game is being played at the 16,440 capacity venue, due to a new pitch being laid at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Both of the other final Super 8’s game will take place the previous evening, with 6pm throw-in’s as Mayo host Donegal and Meath face Kerry.

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