DUBLIN footballers may have sauntered into the All-Ireland semi-finals but they are battle-hardened for the stiffer tests to come because of their savagely intense training matches, according to Michael Darragh Macauley.
Such is the level of competition for a starting place on Jim Gavin's team that Sky Blue comrades are willing to "kill each other" for a jersey.
So far in their ruthless defence of Sam, the Dubs have won their four championship matches by a cumulative 60 points - 15 per game on average. This has prompted some to wonder if they'll be sufficiently steeled to break down Donegal's renowned defensive intensity on Sunday week.
However, Macauley insisted: "We have to go to the well every time we go to a training session. Look, the competition is absolutely disgusting at the moment.
"It's so tough trying to get a jersey, and lads are rightfully trying to kill each other trying to get a jersey ... so I'd have no worries about that."
The midfielder also believes that the business end of last year's championship, when Dublin survived torrid examinations from both Kerry and Mayo, can stand to them now.
"That is probably in the memory bank now, it's good for us, driving it on," he suggested. "That if we do find ourselves in bad positions, we're able to come back.
"We have proved that over time. A lot of the young lads even now have been involved in tough games, like last year, even in the semi-final and final. We've gotten through that so that's all hopefully in the muscle memory, as they say.
"Hopefully it'll stick to the lads if they find themselves in a hole over the next match, which I'm sure we will at some stage," he concluded.