"If Dublin get beaten, there will be questions asked"

12 September 2017

Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly warms up during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final clash against Tyrone at Croke Park.
©INPHO/Gary Carr.

Jim McGuinness says Jim Gavin's decision not to give Diarmuid Connolly meaningful game time against Tyrone amounts to "a potential risk" that could backfire.

Available again after serving his twelve-week suspension, Connolly was only brought on for the dying moments of the Dubs' facile semi-final victory over the Red Hands last month and never got a touch of the ball. McGuinness was surprised that the talismanic attacker wasn't granted more of an opportunity:

"People gulped at the sight of players like Bernard Brogan and Michael Darragh Macauley left unused on the bench but that Diarmuid Connolly was granted just a few seconds at the end of the game was the most vivid illustration of Dublin’s wealth of options," the former Donegal boss writes in The Irish Times.

"I don’t believe there is another county in Ireland where the best player in the country, basically, is sitting there available for the first time all summer and you decline the option to give him a run before the biggest game of the year. It’s all about Jim Gavin’s thought processes.

"And if he feels that he doesn’t need any game time in Diarmuid’s legs, then he knows best. But if this thing ends up a battle and Diarmuid doesn’t have the spark and if Dublin get beaten, there will be questions asked.

"I think the reason he didn’t play Diarmuid was to make a statement of where Dublin are at and about the belief that is within that group. For me, that is a potential risk. This is championship football. The Mayo players have at least eight hours of championship football on Diarmuid now and if Dublin do need to call on him at a crucial stage, it may become a factor."