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Poll: Should Diarmuid Connolly Start The All-Ireland Final?

Poll: Should Diarmuid Connolly Start The All-Ireland Final?
By Arthur James O'Dea

As the build-up to the All-Ireland football final intensifies, the suitable whereabouts of Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly come 3.30pm on Sunday afternoon is continuing to divide opinion.

Having missed most of Dublin's championship campaign via suspension, Sunday's final against Mayo is only the third time Connolly is available to Jim Gavin this summer.

We at Balls.ie want to know whether you think Diarmuid Connolly should start the All-Ireland final. Via the poll below you can vote for or against.

If you're not quite certain yet what you think, take a look through our pros and cons for his inclusion and make up your mind - you never know, Gavin may be waiting for a sign such as this.

Should Diarmuid Connolly Start The All-Ireland Final?

Pros:

1) He is Diarmuid Connolly

Pretty self-explanatory, Connolly, for all his faults remains one of, if not the, outstanding attacking players in the game today. As controlled and unstoppable as Dublin have appeared throughout the championship thus far, Connolly could conceivably take them to another level again. Not overlooking the fact either that the Vincent's man scored 1-01 in last year's replayed final, he has the potential to leave a mark on a game like few others.

 

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2) Mayo would rather he was anywhere else

Whatever hope Mayo have of overcoming this Dublin team on Sunday, Diarmuid Connolly's absence would be no hindrance. We've seen how they approach 'bogey' men before - Aidan O'Shea on Kieran Donaghy comes to mind - and it's clearly something that remains to the forefront of their mind. Without Connolly to concern themselves with, Mayo will have be marginally better off.

 

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3) Connolly could act as a galvanizing presence

Going for their third successive All-Ireland, it is conceivable that Dublin could take their eye off the ball somewhat; complacency can effect even the greatest teams. If Connolly were to start however, there is no doubt that the minds of all fifteen Dublin players would be considerably focused. A player who would take on most of Mayo's interest should he start, Connolly could conceivably ease the pressure on others around him.

 

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4) The Hill loves him

For a few brief moments during Dublin's semi-final win over Tyrone, Eric Lowndes had good reason to believe he had become the latest 'King of the Hill'. Emerging from the bench wearing Connolly's usual #12 jersey, there was an explosion of noise as Dublin fans mistakenly believed Connolly had finally returned. Although he would eventually come on with a few minutes to go, it is clear that Connolly's presence on All-Ireland Sunday would whip these Dublin fans into an even greater frenzy.

 

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Cons:

 

1) Can he possibly be match fit?

If Connolly were to start the All-Ireland final, Jim Gavin surely would have given him more game time in a semi-final that was competitively over long before the 70th minute? Although we have no doubt that Connolly has been keeping himself in peak condition, there is no substitute for playing an actual match... so they say. Taking them at their word, it is difficult to imagine how Connolly could possibly be ready for such a high intensity game.

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2) Gavin isn't sure of his form. 

So, he may be Diarmuid Connolly, but, if Jim Gavin has taught us anything about his Dublin team, reputations mean very little when it comes to team selection. With many different players vying for the 6 attacking positions available, can we really be certain that Connolly - who has not started a match for Dublin since June 3rd - is in the required form to potentially out players who have brought Dublin to this point?

 

3) Mayo's respond to his presence

Although we do believe Mayo would rather Connolly did not start, we are certain that they will be ready if he does. Established now as an easy target - 'You prod a bear, you get a reaction' - Mayo would undoubtedly relish the opportunity to embarrass Connolly, Jim Gavin and Dublin generally by getting under his skin.

 

4: He may destabilise Dublin's attacking unit

Arguably not an issue given what Connolly could bring to the table himself, there is reason to believe that his presence could unnerve what has been an extremely effective attacking unit. An unquestionable focal point for attacking movements when playing, there is uncertainty over how he and Dublin's Con O'Callaghan - to take one newer member of their forwards - would work together. A long shot given Connolly's many, many plus points, it nonetheless requires consideration.

 

Have you say. Should Diarmuid Connolly start for Dublin in Sunday's All-Ireland Final?

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