Diarmuid Connolly: 'Con O’Callaghan is the best footballer in Ireland right now'

Diarmuid Connolly: 'Con O’Callaghan is the best footballer in Ireland right now'

Former Dublin footballer Diarmuid Connolly believes that Con O'Callaghan is the best Gaelic footballer in Ireland because of his all-around game.

O'Callaghan, who is in contention for his seventh Sam Maguire title at the age of 28, has been instrumental for the reigning All-Ireland champions this year. The Cuala man has scored 4-13 (4-10 from play) in six championship games so far this year.

O'Callaghan is a phenomenal footballer, but many would say that Kerry's David Clifford is the current best player in the country. However, for Connolly, his intercounty loyalties lie with O'Callaghan because of his ability to deliver all-around displays in games for Dublin.

“Con O’Callaghan, for me, is the best footballer in Ireland right now, and I don’t see anybody coming next or near close to him. Why I say that is not just because of what he’s doing offensively for Dublin; it’s because of what he’s doing as a whole for Dublin," said Connolly

“If you watch Con O’Callaghan when he’s on the field, he wins every single ball, or 90% of the balls that come into him. He’ll win frees; he’ll bring guys in on offensive plays; his vision is second to none.”

Connolly also believes that O'Callaghan's ability to track back and help his teammates in times of transition, despite being a forward, is another favourable trait of O'Callaghan's

“But where Con O’Callaghan is ahead of all the other marquee forwards in Ireland is his defensive work rate. Whether he’s having a bad performance in front of the goals, that does not falter. I don’t see anybody matching his defensive play as a forward," he added.

“That’s why I have him. I’m not saying he’s streets ahead of everybody else; I’m not saying he’s more silky than David Clifford at kicking scores; I’m not saying he’s as good as Shane Walsh at kicking balls off his left foot or anything like that. I’m saying his whole performance for Dublin—what Con O’Callaghan does defensively and offensively for Dublin—makes him the best player in the country. That’s just my opinion.”

Dublin's next game will be on the weekend of June 29/