Johnny Cooper: ‘Connolly is one of most talented players I’ve ever seen’

Dublin defender hails team-mate as St Vincent’s target third title in succession

On paper, Sunday's Dublin football final may appear somewhat predictable. St Vincent's are seeking a third title in succession and a 28th in all, while Ballyboden St Enda's are seeking only their second ever

to complement their 2009 win.

Also weighing in with some advantage is St Vincent's forward Diarmuid Connolly, who scored five points in last weekend's semi-final win over Na Fianna. One of the men to witness that performance up close and personal was Na Fianna and Dublin defender Jonny Cooper, who admits that Connolly may well represent that winning advantage this Sunday, too.

“He’s probably up there with the most talented guys I’ve seen, when it comes to left or right feet, and hand-passing, and his ability to probably do every skill in the game at a really high and efficient level,” says Cooper.


“And probably the last couple of years he’s probably stood up to the plate more, and been that leader for Dublin that we needed. And you know he gels in with the other guys around him in the forward unit. So he really is offering a lot at the moment

“And he’s on more of a leadership role. I’ve only been around him for a short period of time so I probably haven’t seen him before I came on it three years ago. But since then he’s been a leader and to the fore both on and off the pitch in terms of the way he trains and prepares and goes about his business coming into games.”

On that note, Cooper favours St Vincent’s to progress again on Sunday, although perhaps not as convincingly as some people might think.

“It’s probably a hard one to call. Ballyboden have no fear in the sense that they’re probably going to throw the kitchen sink at it, but on the other side you have Vincent’s with the experience.

“And they’re going for three-in-a-row, have the personnel and the skill levels to probably take it over the line, so I’d probably say Vincent’s, just about.”

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics