Monday 24 October 2016

This is a great time to be a Dub - Cian

O'Sullivan says Dubs must ignore greatness talk if they are to continue on winning path

Dublin's Cian O'Sullivan in action against Kieran Donaghy of Kerry during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final in Croke Park Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin's Cian O'Sullivan in action against Kieran Donaghy of Kerry during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final in Croke Park Photo: Sportsfile

Sticking out from all the colourful garlands being skittishly dropped at the feet of Dublin over the past 48 hours was the "rape and pillage" comment thrown out by the always measured and usually considered Éamonn Fitzmaurice afterwards.

"When the ball is hanging up in the air so long and it's a 50/50 ball, there's always a bit of wrestling with each other to try and get the ball," Cian O'Sullivan - one of accused pillagers - told the Herald of his own meaty interactions with Kieran Donaghy in Dublin's latest demonstration of their pre-eminence on Sunday.

"But I wouldn't have any comments on it other than that. We were just trying to get the ball and that's it really."

Other than that, it was all uniform praise, acclaim and glory.

So much so - and deservedly so - that you wonder whether Jim Gavin has any fears of talk of being the best Dublin team of all time or a back-to-back All-Ireland away from being one of the greatest full stop, might pollute some corner of his team's psyche.


"Everyone has their own little ways of ignoring it," O'Sullivan explained, like this wasn't the first time he has considered the task of side-stepping such hubris.

"The first thing is to be conscious of the fact that it's a distraction and it can very easily breed complacency and that's a dangerous thing.

"Once you're conscious of that and you don't pay heed to it, that's the biggest lesson.

"It's up to yourself then what you do with it..whether it's your family and friends that give you those little sound bites or are just making conversation - they're coming from a good place but once you know not to play attention to it and give your one line answer and move on and change the topic or whatever, that's all it takes really.

"If you see a news headline that suggests something like that, you mighn't read it.

"It's just staying grounded and staying in the present with what the team is trying to do. That's the main thing."

Perhaps the line about it being calmest in the eye of the storm is applicable to the self awareness of a football team but equally, O'Sullivan is mindful that this run that Dublin are on; 22 League and Championship wins, nine major trophies in 10 attempts, is the work of a special team.

"It's a great time to playing football for Dublin," he admitted.

"And I'm fully aware that I'm lucky and privileged to be wearing a Dublin jersey and partake in these good days.

"When I started playing in 2009, which wasn't too long ago, my first Championship game we were beaten by Kerry by 16 points in an All-Ireland quarter-final.

"So a lot can change in a very short space of time. But we're getting the best out of ourselves at the moment.

"And that really is the aim."

"There's a fairly consistent squad there over the last few years and there's a great familiarity and bond there in the team.

"It's incredible really. Unfortunately only 15 players can take to the field and only 21 can play a part on the day and there's whatever, 32 or 33 lads on the panel.

"And it's heartbreaking for the rest of the guys who don't get to play a part on the day or don't get to travel with the team.

"But I think that Jim and the management team have been very good at building the last couple of years a squad ethos.

"It's not the one to 15 that counts, it's the one to 30 and the backroom team as well.

"There's a very good bond within the team, so it was a great day yesterday to enjoy a bit of a bond with the team and enjoy a bit of silverware."


"At the start of the year, you're not setting out your aims to win a league title.

"You're just going out to play each game and get a performance and hope to have that consistency.

"The Leagues have been a byproduct of that. And certainly since I started playing, the Leagues have taken on a new lease of life.

"We've had nine competitive games and it's great preparation for the summer."

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