Wednesday 26 October 2016

Cian O'Sullivan: Kerry are a better side than last year

Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin McManamon, Dublin celebrate at the end of the game
Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin McManamon, Dublin celebrate at the end of the game
Cian O'Sullivan, Dublin, in action against Aidan O'Shea

Even if Diarmuid Connolly looked slightly fatigued by his appeal ordeal on Saturday evening, it's probably accurate to suggest it didn't effect his team-mates a whole pile.

"We flagged it early in the week that this was going to be an issue and we said not to let it effect us," Cian O'Sullivan told the Herald.

"I heard the morning of the game that he got off.

"Obviously I was delighted to hear the good news that he would be available to play.

"But that was about the extent of it. We're used to blocking out external things at this stage and focusing on the task in hand and that was no different today really.


"It could have been a big distraction," the Kilmacud Crokes man admits from the safe vantage point of an All-Ireland final place on September 20th.

"But I thought we dealt with it quite well and Diarmuid dealt with it quite well as well.

"And we didn't let it impact us or effect us."

Similarly, you couldn't say it had any great effect on the result. By the end, Dublin were toying with Mayo.

Connolly didn't score or play anywhere close to his exalted standards.

But the bolt of electricity it sent around the city as its denizens awoke on Saturday morning carried right into Croke Park that evening and all the exaggerated booing and cheering of the pantomime villains and heroes added to what was an occasion to remember for Dublin.

"You grow to know your team-mates quite well personally over the course of a season," O'Sullivan says.

"And Diarmuid is a top man and he's one of the leaders of the team. He's our vice captain and primarily, he leads by example with his work ethic and his great skill and I would have been very sorry if he couldn't partake in the game on Saturday."

Connolly besides, the transformation in Dublin's performance was most impressive.

"There were a lot of things cropping up that we needed to work on," O'Sullivan admits.

"Having that second game gave us that opportunity to address those things.

"We did quite well at it there on Saturday. Having said that, it was still a very tight game.

"We're delighted to come through it and be in another All-Ireland."

"It's not a whole pile, six days," he says of the tight time in which Dublin had to right the wrongs of their previous performance.

"We just focused on getting the recovery in.

"The pitch sessions we did were light enough. We looked back on the tape and highlighted the areas where we did well and the areas we needed to improve on.

"I think we did quite well on those areas on Saturday.

"It's funny, when you only have six days, it really focuses the mind.

"Lads really went after it and in the last 10 or 15 minutes that shone through."

If they can improve as much again in the next two weeks, we could have ourselves a great final.

"There's pros and cons," O'Sullivan says of a shorter preamble to an All-Ireland final that he has experienced in the past.


"Just from the point of view of doing your homework on the opposition…we really just focused on Mayo the last few weeks.

"We haven't looked further than the semi-final. Now we have to recalibrate and take a look at Kerry.

"They've had a couple of extra weeks preparation in that sense. But two weeks should be sufficient to cover all bases.

O'Sullivan will, in the next 12 days, feel "a combination of excitement and nerves, and a little bit of giddiness creeps in too," he confesses.

"Just being mindful of all those things and just admin things," he explains, of the potential distractions prior to his third All-Ireland final.

"Getting your tickets out of the way and people hounding you.

"But it's a great time. We're in a position where a lot of lads have been through this before and they know to be wary of the little things that you just need to get on top of as soon as you can so you can focus on the game."

"They're the reigning All-Ireland champions," he adds of the opposition and reigning All-Ireland champions.

"They have extremely impressive squad this year. They're probably further down the road now than when they won the All-Ireland last year.

"So there's no underestimating the task in hand and how impressive this team is we're coming up against."

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