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After Diarmuid Connolly announced his inter-county retirement earlier this month, Mayo legend Andy Moran explored the Dubliner's greatest threat on Wednesday's OTB AM

One among many outstanding Dublin players that Mayo had to concern themselves with during the seismic contests played out between both teams in recent years, the plan for Diarmuid Connolly was surprisingly simple.

"It was always one-on-one for us," explained Andy Moran on Wednesday's OTB AM. "It was never the case where we needed to double up on him because we had someone like Lee Keegan."

Full of praise for an adversary that he admittedly kept well away from on the pitch, Moran's memories of Mayo's battles with Dublin recall are of games that were quite unlike any other on the GAA calendar.

"Dublin was a funny one," he said. "We would always try to drop someone in against everyone else to make up an extra number in the back. I think we could compete with Dublin though.

"Unfortunately, we never got over the line and won an All-Ireland, but I think we could compete because we had the backs that allowed us to go one-on-one with them and two colossal midfielders in Seamie O'Shea and Tom Parsons.

"The famous battle then was always Diarmuid vs Lee and Lee kind of gets under your skin anyway, he is just that sort of competitor. He will make you so frustrated because you can't get away from him and he doesn't tend to have to foul you because he is so strong and fast."

Although such games often brought the best out of Connolly and Keegan, in these circumstances Moran believes that Mayo retained a degree of control.

As far as he is concerned, however, this was not where Diarmuid Connolly was necessarily at his most dangerous.

"The biggest problem we would have with Diarmuid Connolly was when he used to come on off the bench," explained Moran.

"That was an issue because now fellas are tiring, now we have to look at our bench and see who will come on and go one-on-one with him.

"If you look at the damage Diarmuid has done in All-Ireland finals, a lot of that against Kerry, Mayo and these teams was done coming off the bench.

"Teams simply wouldn't have the legs to mark him or someone to come on and mark him."

True to form, in the 2019 All-Ireland football final replay between Dublin and Kerry, the now retired Diarmuid Connolly made his presence felt coming off the bench to give the five-in-a-row chasing Dubs a welcome boost.

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All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Andy Moran Diarmuid Connolly Dublin GAA Gaelic Football Lee Keegan Mayo Stephen Coen

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