Media shy Connolly lets his football do the talking
Rarely has one talent shone so brilliantly in a club final
St Vincent’s Diarmuid Connolly scores his second goal against Castlebar Mitchels. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Diarmuid Connolly. Anything else?
Rarely has one talent shone so brilliantly in the winning of an All-Ireland club football title. Not that Connolly’s rare talent wasn’t already shining.
Mercurial is a word sometimes often attached to him, too, although with Connolly, it is usually a case of when, not if. When he shows up his talent like he did here – scoring 2-5, and setting up almost as much again – chances are he’ll be on the winning side. If he hadn’t then St Vincent’s might easily have lost.
At 26, in his football prime and matured now far beyond some previous years, this was the perhaps the day he came of age. He’s still deliberately media shy too, yet there are plenty others perfectly willing to speak on his behalf
“He is a super talent,” said St Vincent’s captain Ger Brennan, who like Connolly has now won All-Irelands with club and county, not once but twice. “Does he do it as much he could do it? Well that’s kind of for him to work out.
“But I remember 2011, in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Tyrone, he was sending points over from every angle. But I’d say as well it’s the work rate of the guys around him, creating space, that makes it as well. But he does maximise that with his accuracy. And I think he’s able to see passes that most players wouldn’t be able to see. And he’s able to execute them as well. And in fairness, he did put a few nice balls in. A great man to have in your arsenal.”
St Vincent’s manager Tommy Conroy was a little more conscious of spreading the praise, yet couldn’t deny the star turn, either: “Yeah, Diarmuid had a great game,” said Conroy.
“A lot of other players had great games too. Dáithí Murphy in the middle of the field. Ger Brennan didn’t have a bad hour either. It was a great, group team performance. Even the guys that came in. So it really is a credit to them all.
“And I think this team is up there now, with all the great teams of St Vincent’s. We used to have this legacy in the club, but this team is living in nobody’s shadow now. To win it twice, and this season has been such a long journey. And that was a great final to win, too.”
Indeed not as easy as the final score suggested: “It was tough going out there, and I suppose when the game was on the line, we had the players to make the big plays,” said Mossy Quinn.
Like Diarmuid Connolly?
“Yeah, he’s just a different class. Everyone knows it. He’s showed it before, and really showed it out there. And we’re just delighted he did.”
For Pat Homes, the Castlebar Mitchels manager, while losing their “spiritual leader” Richie Feeney to a black card certainly didn’t help, there was still no denying the difference on the day: Diarmuid Connolly.
“We knew he was a fabulous footballer, coming in here. Normally, you’d have looked at two or three forwards that you needed to stop. But I suppose we just didn’t have anything to stop Diarmuid Connolly today.”