Diarmuid Connolly & Lee Keegan Open Up On Their Epic Rivalry
Here at BoyleSports we had the pleasure of listening to Diarmuid Connolly and Lee Keegan discuss their legendary rivalry as Dublin and Mayo players.
In the annals of gaelic football, there are few rivalries which have captured the hearts and minds of fans and pundits quite like the epic battles between Diarmuid Connolly and Lee Keegan.
Connolly, arguably the greatest half-forward of the modern era, and Keegan, likely the greatest half-back of the modern era, went toe-to-toe on many occasions and each time left an indelible mark on the sport.
Each Mayo and Dublin fan that was part of Croke Park’s sold-out crowds in the 2010’s will reminisce and appreciate how fortunate they were to experience first-hand the battles between these two titans of gaelic football.
The two players undoubtedly belong in the pantheon of gaelic football’s all-time greats. If you were writing the book on gaelic football then the rivalry between these two would be deserving of it’s very own chapter.
In this exclusive Epic Conversation, Connolly and Keegan reflect on their iconic battles, their mutual respect for one another, and reveal some never heard before stories that defined one of gaelic football’s greatest rivalries.
The Diarmuid Connolly Lee Keegan Rivalry
LK: “You are probably one of the best players that ever played the game, whether you agree or not. I’m not going to let you go run around and score 5 points and clap for you. I do that when I was watching you against other teams.”
“Did I go over the line sometimes? Absolutely. But at the high level you have to have that bit of nastiness in you to do that. Like Dublin in general ye did the exact same thing to us.”
“The tussles with you were brilliant because it was one-on-one, who’s going to get the better of it. And I knew the skill level you had in terms of what you were able to do. You’re definitely never the structure player, you played what you saw. And they’re the hardest players to figure out so there was no ever doing homework on you.”
DC: “You weren’t doing it anyway, you were too lazy! [Laughter]”
Lee Keegan Reflects On Infamous GPS Throw Incident
🏐 An infamous moment in the Dublin v Mayo rivalry!
— BoyleSports (@BoyleSports) June 28, 2023
DC: “I’ve something here for you Lee [Diarmuid hands Lee GPS] [Laughter]. Can you explain, do you want to elaborate on that incident?”
LK: “Genius is probably not the right word. The problem I was looking at is we were staring down the barrel of another All-Ireland defeat. Is there anything possible we can do, and I went a bit above the threshold probably.”
“Definitely not one of my best moments but again, I always kept saying when you’re staring down the barrel of I think it was our fifth All-Ireland final loss. Desperate times call for desperate measures sometimes.”
“But then the killer for us was how ye (Dublin) finished the game after. Ye absolutely demoralised us when ye got the ball back. And that was probably the best game we played collectively, like we scored 1-16 and we still lost. That’s the sign of how good of a team ye were and how much we respected ye because it just wasn’t enough against ye.”
Connolly And Keegan Discuss Retirement
Diarmuid Connolly Opens Up On His Retirement
LK: “I’m recently retired last year, from your (Connolly’s) perspective do you miss the game, how do you look at the game now or is it something you think about too often?”
DC: “I’ve a different perspective on it I suppose. When I stepped away in ’18 from the Dublin panel and went to Boston for the year I was done, I was never coming back. I ended up coming back then for just end of the ’19 season.”
“But I made my peace with it then, I think I’ve played long enough. We’ve obviously won a few things. It’s a little bit different from your (Keegan’s) perspective, maybe chasing that dream a little bit longer.”
“The free time is obviously good, starting a family, getting back to the club and doing a few bits around there. It’s nice to be a fan and actually follow the games and do a bit of punditry and talk about the games. I actually enjoy that a little bit.”
“I never enjoyed doing that by the way as a player, reviewing games or reviewing teams or reviewing the likes of yourself (Keegan). I never actually enjoyed sitting down and doing that.”
“But I am enjoying watching as a fan at the moment and I certainly made my peace with it and I’m enjoying retirement at the minute.”
🏐 Retirement for any inter-county player is a difficult decision.
— BoyleSports (@BoyleSports) June 29, 2023
Lee Keegan On His Retirement
DC: “It’s 2023, if Mayo won the All-Ireland this year would you have regret of stepping away last year?”
“And my opinion would be that you (Keegan) at least had 2 or 3 more seasons left in you. I thought you were Mayo’s best performer last year when you retired. It was a real shock to me because I thought you were really one of their best defenders if not their best attacker going forward as well.”
“I’m not saying it would be a regret but what would you think if Mayo won this year?
LK: “If Mayo won this year? I have the week booked off incase. And I’ll celebrate, maybe not Sergio Aguero style with Argentina after the World Cup…
DC: “More like Jack Grealish?”
LK: “I’ve done it (like Jack Grealish) a few times before [Laughter]. But no, I think for myself I’d love to see the likes of Aidan O’Shea, Cillian O’Connor, Kevin McLoughlin, those guys get over the line. And probably equally they’d feel worse for me not being involved.”
DC: ” If Kevin McStay picked up the phone on Friday and asked you to play on Sunday would you put on the boots?”
LK: “Well the fact that it’s Dublin I’d consider it [Laughter].”
Diarmuid Connolly and Lee Keegan also previewed the massive All-Ireland quarter-final clash this weekend between their respective counties. Check out Connolly and Keegan’s Dublin v Mayo predictions and previews here.
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