Hill 16 on Tour had waited long enough and on 55 minutes, their hero delivered. The biggest roar of the day resounded around Healy Park as Diarmuid Connolly clipped over a routine point in his first championship game in 600+ days. 

It was one of those 'God is in his heaven' moments for the vast travelling hordes. Here we were at the height of summer on a mighty road trip, Dublin were winning again (they could have expected that) and the beloved Dermo was once more curling over points for the boys in blue.    

Dublin have had many great players during this historic and unprecedented era of dominance but none has become the darling of the fans like Connolly. 

Fenton, Brogan, Kilkenny and McCaffrey have gotten more love at the end of year awards dos but when the inevitable folk song about this team is written, it'll be Connolly and perhaps 'Clucko' who'll be name-checked most heavily in the lyrics. 

Remarkably, for a player often celebrated as one of the finest of his generation, Connolly only has two All-Stars and has never been nominated for Footballer of the Year. 

No doubt these 'snubs' from the rest of the association have only served to intensify the love the Hill feels for Connolly.

The establishment may have it in for Dermo and his ample experience of the GAA appeals process but the Hill is, among other things, a sucker for a hard chaw.

Talk to the more punk minded of the old-time Dublin fans and they'll tell you the '83 final was the sweetest of the lot.

Connolly eating a banana as he arrived at Healy Park on Sunday

No one captures Dermo's folk hero status with the Dubs better than the Second Captains' Ken Early with his 'Fair View' monologues, featuring such memorable characters as Black Puddin' O'Toole, Onions Cafferty, Rashers Geraghty and Fr Ignatious ("who regularly gets tickets on account of his pull up at the club"). 

Ahead of the 2017 All-Ireland final, he switched from monologue to song, and re-worded 'The Auld Triangle' in honour of Connolly and his disciplinary travails that summer.

This included, at the beginning of the third verse, the immortal lines, 'Minor physical interference; the rules, they have no coherence!'

The establishment may have it in for Dermo and his ample experience of the GAA appeals process but the Hill is a sucker for a hard chaw.

There's no question that Connolly's enigmatic willingness to spurn the 'five-in-a-row' hype and scoot off to America at the height of summer has greatly contributed to his mystique. 

Also, his forbidding and standoffish relationship with the national media has naturally served to increase the media's interest in him. 

Both has given him a Cantona-esque vibe. 

The Dubs fans aren't inclined to blame him for the former. As far as the hardcore is concerned, he's only leaving because he's been blackguarded by the hierarchy and the media.

The curious suspicion this summer is that Jim Gavin is suddenly treating Connolly in a Cantona-esque fashion. 

Alex Ferguson, as detailed by Lee Sharpe many times in his after-dinner speeches, deliberately donned the kid-gloves with the temperamental Frenchman, offering only the gentlest of rebukes - or sometimes no rebuke at all - for offences that would have had normal players cowering in the corner. 

The Dublin manager, a former army pilot, chortled indulgently as Connolly departed the field with a black card on Sunday afternoon - not a common sight - and then told RTÉ Sport afterwards that the management and players loved Connolly due to his "commitment to the cause". 

This quote naturally struck people as odd given Connolly's clear desire was to be out of the country by this point.  

Connolly after receiving his black card on Sunday

Former Kerry All-Ireland winner Mike Quirke argued today in the Examiner that Gavin is engaging in distraction tactics, exploiting the media's Connolly fixation to reduce the pressure on his front-rank players. 

Others suggest that might be overthinking the issue and that Connolly has simply been welcomed back to the fold because he's plenty to offer in the five-in-a-row bid. 

Gavin's quote naturally struck people as odd given Connolly's clear desire was to be out of the country by this point.

The fans, though, are just delighted to see him back on the field, elegantly stroking passes into the inside forwards. 

The Dubs, you see, have a fondness for a comeback; it has echoes in their history.

Jimmy Keaveney quit the Dublin scene in 1972 at the relatively young age of 29, after years slaving away anonymously in the early rounds of the Leinster championship. 

He watched the 1973 All-Ireland final in Toronto according to himself, telling everyone in the Maple Leaf ballroom to put their money on Cork. 

His inter-county career remained finished until early summer '74 when Kevin Heffernan's wife's friend's 7-year-old son (who else?) told the Dublin manager that Keaveney never ever missed a free for Vincent's.

Soon he would be never ever missing a free for the Dubs as he became the great folk hero of the fans during the glorious '70s. 

The romance of the prodigal son narrative now attaches itself to Connolly, as it hung around Keaveney. 

Jimmy Keaveney being inducted into the GAA Museum Hall of Fame alongside Jimmy Barry Murphy

It's highly debatable whether he is the best Dublin player of the current era.

Connolly is certainly a gifted player, and a stylist to boot. He has delivered some fine displays for Dublin over the years, perhaps none better than his destruction of the great Tyrone team (then admittedly in the twilight of its existence) in the 2011 quarter-final. 

The rollercoaster All-Ireland semi-finals against Kerry in 2013 and 2016, where he was Man of the Match in the first and kicked a number of excellent points in the latter, were other landmark displays. 

There are some important and rarely mentioned caveats. His record against Mayo, Dublin's chief nemesis in his era, is fairly underwhelming, albeit one should acknowledge he had Lee Keegan hanging to him like a limpet for most of those matches. In the drawn 2016 final, Connolly's jersey was left looking like an Irish compromise rules top circa 1980s after yet another grappling match with the Mayo defender. 

In the last semi-final he played against Mayo - the replay in 2015 - Connolly had something of a stinker and it was Paddy Andrews who shot the lights out that day. Again, there were mitigating circumstances as he was only cleared to play less than 24 hours before throw-in following his red card the week before. 

His decision to try a needlessly spectacular sideline shot at goal in the dying minutes of the 2016 drawn final was also heavily criticised at the time. His unwillingness to play keep ball allowed Mayo the chance to work it up the other end, where Cillian O'Connor kicked an equaliser.

He did, however, deliver in his second to last championship outing for Dublin, when introduced in the second half of the 2017 All-Ireland final. He kicked one superb point, set up another with a beautiful swerved pass and generally played with coolness and composure to help the Dubs over the line. 

It is thought highly unlikely he will be chanced against Mayo this week.

Brian Fenton and Jack McCaffrey have more consistently delivered on the biggest days, Ciaran Kilkenny has scored more freely and been an ever present since 2013, Bernard Brogan has won more individual awards.

But clearly no player in this era has captured the imagination of the Dublin support like Connolly, Hill 16's modern folk hero. 

Follow Dublin v Mayo (Saturday, 5pm) and Kerry v Tyrone (Sunday, 3.30pm) via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie and the News Now app, watch live on RTÉ2 or listen to radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.