It took a brilliant piece of management from Pat Gilroy to turn over Connolly's 2011 final suspension
"He was looking further down the line than I was, I was only looking at that final but he saw the bigger picture."
In 2011 Dublin were chasing their first All-Ireland in 16 years, something which is hard to imagine now, given their unrelenting grip on the Sam Maguire in the decade that followed.
Then manager, Pat Gilroy, understood that to win an All-Ireland, you need to be prepared for even the most unlikely circumstances. That means making decisions that actually seem counterproductive in the short-term.
Speaking on the GAA Hour, former Dublin All-Star, Alan Brogan explains why Pat Gilroy told him not to appeal his red card offence, even though it meant that he would be suspended for the National League final.
"I got sent off in Salthill the previous fortnight and it was a very harsh red card," claimed the eldest Brogan brother. "I was after getting a goal earlier in the game and was sent off after 13 or 14 minutes.
"I went up at half-time to our videographer and asked him if he caught it on video, but his angle just missed what happened. It was for an 'attempted strike' - the fella ran at me and I put my hands up. I've made mistakes before and got red cards that I deserved, but I genuinely didn't deserve it and I was going to miss my first National League final."
With the plan in place, Brogan was determined to appeal the red card, confident that it would be overturned and he would be able to play against Cork; he just needed to talk to the manager first.
"I said to Pat Gilroy the week after, 'look I want to appeal this' and we had a chat and he said 'I don't think you should appeal it'.
"I said I had never played in a National League final before and he said 'there's a long year ahead and who knows, if you appeal this you might get off it, but that could be our opportunity to appeal a red gone, so hang on because we might need one later in the year.
"So going on Pat's word, I'll take one for the team here and I won't appeal it. Lo and behold, we needed an appeal later in the year when Diarmuid Connolly got sent off against Donegal, and he got it back fair and square.
"We used our appeal, our one get-out-of-jail card that day, and got Diarmuid back for the final. It's the little things like that. He was looking further down the line than me, I was only looking at that final, but he saw the bigger picture and it paid off."