McGregor coach offers to “train Connolly to keep his cool”

Diarmuid Connolly
Diarmuid Connolly

Conor McGregor’s coach has offered his services to help Dublin GAA star Diarmuid Connolly control himself on the pitch – after the St Vincent’s man was suspended for ­pushing a match official.

MMA coach John Kavanagh has said that Connolly not being able to stay in control of his emotions in the heat of the moment is a “worrying trait” and added he would be “honoured” to give the All-Ireland-winning forward a lesson.

It comes amid huge controversy surrounding Connolly’s 12-week ban for pushing an official during the Leinster Senior Football Championship quarter-final against Carlow earlier this month.

Connolly has accepted the ban, but coverage of the incident has led Dubs boss Jim Gavin to decline interviews with RTE.

Connolly, who is widely regarded as one of the most talented footballers in the country, is now unavailable until a potential All-Ireland semi-final.

Speaking to the Herald, Kavanagh – who has trained Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney on many occasions – suggested Brazilian jiu-jitsu may work as a calming option for the Dublin talisman.

“For players that would get caught up in the moment like that and shove an official, knowing very well what it leads to, it’s an automatic ban when you do that right, in GAA?” said Kavanagh.

“So he knew what the consequences were and yet couldn’t control himself, so I would definitely as a coach see that as a worrying trait.

“I would definitely encourage him to do something about it. Training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, would that help? Maybe.

“Kieran [McGeeney] said it is a great tool for learning how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations and maybe that would help that player. But that’s between him and his coach,” he added.

Asked whether his services would be available to one of the most high-profile players in the country, Kavanagh said he would be keen to help.

“Of course. The door is always open to somebody to come in and learn, so if he would like to come in and give it a go, I would be very honoured to give him a lesson,” he said.

Kavanagh’s schedule is currently filled with McGregor’s record-breaking boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather in two months’ time.

The SBG coach insists he is very confident of McGregor knocking Mayweather out on August 26 in Las Vegas – and didn’t pull any punches on his opinion of the Crumlin man’s opponent, referring to the unbeaten American’s domestic violence history.

“I think he’s a fantastic boxer, we can’t deny that, and he is clearly an a******e, and that can’t be denied either. I don’t know why it’s strange to say he beats up women, so yeah, he’s a p***k,” said Kavanagh.

“I sometimes hear of my sport being called thuggish and brutish and so on, but then I’m like, hey the face of boxing is a known woman beater on several occasions. In my opinion, I just think he’s a lowlife.”

Kavanagh said he is excited about the fight, adding he expects it to be the most-watched of all time.

However, he insisted they will be trying a ­different approach to Mayweather’s ­previous opponents.

“What we’re not gonna do is approach this like the other 49 boxers that came in fighting like professional boxers, because that plan doesn’t seem to work against Floyd,” he said.

“He seems almost flawless against that plan. We’re here to knock Mayweather out, that’s what we’re training for, that’s what we expect and that’s what you’ll see August 26.”