Connolly last appeared, as a substitute, against Mayo in Castlebar at the end of February. It was reported yesterday that he was disenchanted with Gaelic games. Informed about the Sunday Times article, Gavin said the claim about his disinterest was “news to me”.
He said: “His status at the moment is that both Diarmuid and I agreed that what was best was that he would take a rest over these games. He has had a long number of years playing senior inter-county football, as have a lot of this group, and that decision was made in his best interests.”
Asked if he would play in the All-Ireland SFC, Gavin said: “Please God.”
There was good news for Dublin in Jack McCaffrey’s rehabilitation from his cruciate tear in last year’s All-Ireland final, which required surgery. It’s believed he is three weeks ahead of schedule.
“It’s very positive news,” said Gavin, “He’s back on the grass again. That’s really positive. As in he’s running on the grass if that makes sense. He’s being very diligent with it. He’s in great shape. Mentally, as bubbly as ever. He’s looking forward to the championship.”
As for Cian O’Sullivan’s recovery from shoulder surgery, Gavin said: “Cian had a procedure on his shoulder three weeks ago. He is resting and is in great form, Unfortunately for his club he won’t make it back, but he will certainly be back for championship that is for sure.”
Gavin explained the background behind Con O’Callaghan’s return to the set-up so soon after being involved in Cuala’s success. “We just had a conversation. If a player is that fortunate to have his club in an All-Ireland campaign, I know Cuala have got two on the spin, but they’re unique occasions and we have so much respect for the clubs in Dublin because of the players they keep developing and we are the sum of our parts in Dublin GAA. So you just back off and there was no conversations at all over the last number of weeks. We just let him concentrate fully with his club.
“We just touched base with him earlier in the week and had a chat. Obviously, he’s possibly fitter — we’ve done very little work in that regard — I’d say he’s a lot fitter than the current group of Dublin players and he was just keen to go.”