Declan Darcy was one of the stars when Leitrim claimed their second Connacht title in 1994.

He captained the side, and was famously joined on the steps by Tom Gannon, the skipper of the only other Leitrim team to win the province, back in 1927.

Speaking to The Sunday Game, Darcy highlighted a speech made by selector Joe Reynolds.

"I'll never forget Joe giving a speech on the Saturday night," he told RTÉ Sport.

"But the day of the match he gave an unbelievable speech. It was one of the best I’ve ever heard.

"He talked about all the years he had played for Leitrim and got beaten, and the hard luck stories. This was the day he felt we could put it right, it was our day to be had if we wanted it."

Darcy is one of only two players to captain Leitrim to a Connacht title

Twnety-five years later, Darcy has the chance to be part of GAA history once again this weekend.

This time he’s a selector in Jim Gavin’s backroom team, but he says that the game is different to what it was when he was in playing

"The game is evolving very quickly, so you can never stand still for one minute," he says.

"The experienced players would tell you there's a complete transformation from season to season, even from the league to the championship.

"A corner-forward now could be playing a completely different role than a corner-forward of even five years ago.

"A player's mind has to be a lot more open, whereas before if you were a corner-forward it was a case of win your ball, while the corner-back had a job to stop you.

"The adaptability of the players, and how they have to function on the matchday, is just incredible."

Darcy has been part of Gavin's management team since he took the job in 2013

The changes in Gaelic football aren't restricted to what happens between the white lines, according to Darcy, with players demanding more tailored instruction than he was used to on the field.

"The players will respect you when they're getting information that is actually relative to what they need. That’s the really important piece.

"They’re craving (information), and they’re in a little bit of the unknown because they can’t look down and see what actually is happening

"They’ve just experienced 35 minutes of football, and sometimes it can be very chaotic."

A theme of Dublin's recent ascendancy has been the impact of the changes planned by Gavin's management during their half-time team talks.

Pretenders to the throne have been able to put it up to the Blues in the opening 35 minutes of big games, but the changes that Jim Gavin and his management have made have often turned the contests around.

The semi-final win over Mayo three weeks ago was a prime example, as Dublin turned a two-point half-time deficit into a ten-point win.

Earlier in the summer, Meath restricted the Dubs to five points in the opening 35 minutes of the Leinster final, before falling to a 16-point mauling.

Perhaps the biggest turnaround of the Gavin era was the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final. A mini-meltdown from Stephen Cluxton just before half-time had gifted Sunday’s opponents two goals. Kerry took a five-point lead into the break, as their supporters afforded them a standing ovation off the field.

A five-point half-time lead wasn't enough for Kerry in 2016

There was no panic for the Boys in Blue though, as a solution was proposed over the half-time cup of tea. The teams were level by the 50th minute, with Dublin going on to book their final spot with a two point win.

According to Darcy the days of said tea cups being smashed against the dressing-room wall are long gone, and there's a much more analytical approach to the half-time team talk today.

"Everyone’s perception is that there’s a hair-dryer treatment at half-time, Alex Ferguson-style," according to the Dublin selector.

"What we say, and what we do at half-time is really, really important. We might make a few tactical changes or suggestions based on what’s actually happening in the game that the players cannot see.

 "You’ve got to read the players. There’s no one specific thing that’ll work. You need to feel the players, and understand where they’re at emotionally and physically.

"Then you can input some information into them that you think would be of value to them. The quality of that information needs to be really good, or the players won’t rely on you when it matters.

"I’d like to think the information pieces are really important for them, and the semi-final was a typical example of where it kind of worked."

If Dublin are to create GAA history by Sunday night, the half-time discussion might be the key.

Follow the All-Ireland football final via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now app, listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday Sport, or watch the Sunday Game on RTÉ2 from 2.15pm.