The Dublin boss suggested St. Vincent’s Star Diarmuid Connolly could be back in favour by their next game against Mayo.

Diarmuid Connolly

Jim Gavin is quite adamant that forward Diarmuid Connolly remains part of the All-Ireland champions’ panel and could even make a return to the line up in their next fixture.

Since capturing their third consecutive All Ireland title last September, the St. Vincent’s Star has not featured in the squad.

2017 was certainly an interesting year for the much talked about and gifted attacker.

The early part of the year was spent with his club who were still involved in the Championship, and of course on his inter county championship return, there was the highly publicised suspension, ruling him out for most of the campaign.

Add to that speculation of a switch to hurling after the appointment of new boss Pat Gilroy, it meant Connolly was never too far from people’s thoughts.

This speculation was muted by the player himself, who has been to watch his fellow footballers at least once this year, despite not being involved.

Following Dublin’s third league win over Donegal on Saturday, boss Gavin spoke very briefly about Diarmuid.

“He’s training away with the squad and attending team meetings,” he told the Examiner.

This will be a welcome relief for Dublin fans following the recent news that county legend Bernard Brogan could miss the season through a cruciate injury.

And could Connolly make a return as early as Saturday week’s clash away to Mayo?

“It’s a possibility.” Gavin admitted.

Interestingly, over the winter break Connolly had predicted big things for up and coming Raheny midfielder Brian Howard. Since then Howard has been a permanent fixture, sitting in a space on the Half Forward line that Diarmuid himself could fill.

Howard has put in a string of solid performances and is one of many taking their opportunities, like Colm Basquel, Paddy Small and Ciaran Reddin.

“The players who came on; Ciaran Reddin, Paddy Small, Eoghan O’Gara, Dean Rock and Cian O’Sullivan, they all played their part for the team and that’s their collective strength.”

“I thought Colm, Brian Howard and Niall really played for the team, winning the ball and laying it off for the man in the best position, that’s what they’re good at.”

“It’s what we saw with their clubs last season and that’s the form they’re carrying through.