Dublin football star Diarmuid Connolly denies feeling 'targeted' by opposition, saying any special attention he receives is a 'compliment' and part of the game.

The talented forward won his fourth All-Ireland title and second All-Star award with the Dubs this year but has picked up his fair share of yellow and red cards over the years, leading rivals to believe he has a short fuse that can be exploited to their advantage.

Dublin CEO John Costello yesterday called for greater protection for skillful players like Connolly in his annual report.

"In one of our championship games this summer Diarmuid Connolly was struck about six times before the ball was even thrown in to commence the game," Costello wrote.

“At most breaks in play, this action continued with the perpetrator turning his back to the play and repeatedly striking Diarmuid, with one intention only, i.e. provoking a reaction that may get him in card trouble.

“The linesman’s attention was brought to it but again no action taken."

However, speaking to RTÉ Sport, the St Vincent's clubman, whose side face Offaly's Rhode in the Leinster Club SFC final on Sunday, played down Costello's remarks.

"I don't believe in that really," he said. "I'm not sure what team he was making the comment about but isn't being targeted or man-marked a big compliment?"

"Niall McNamee isn't going to go and play without anyone marking him on Sunday.

"You can call it targeting, you can call it man-marking, whatever you want.

"Every team does it to the key players and the leaders and we're no different."