Wednesday 21 November 2018

Faithful focus is firmly on Wicklow - Sullivan

Anton Sullivan of Offaly Photo: Sportsfile
Anton Sullivan of Offaly Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Offaly forward Anton Sullivan insists history decrees Offaly can't afford to look past the challenge of Wicklow tomorrow afternoon.

The sides clash in their Leinster SFC opener in Portlaoise tomorrow afternoon with Offaly installed as 2/7 favourites to progress and set up a date with all-conquering Dublin.

However, Sullivan says that bitter experience informs them that they can't take any team for granted.

"Our firm focus is just on Wicklow for now," he said. "We don't want to take our eye off the ball. I feel in other years gone by we've left championship matches behind in the opening round because we took our eye off the ball in some cases, say Longford 2015, we had them in Tullamore, we should have bet them, we were seven points up with 15 minutes to go and we ended up losing by (three).

"I feel our firm focus is just on Wicklow. What comes after that is another day's work. I know Dublin await but our firm focus is just on Wicklow and beating them and getting over the line and registering another championship win."

bounce Offaly bounce into the championship on a high after producing their best performance of the season to beat rivals Westmeath and secure their Division 3 status.

"I think finishing up against Westmeath that day, we finished up with 10 U-21 players on the field which is unbelievable. I know Westmeath were missing a few but Westmeath have been contesting Leinster finals in the past couple of seasons so that was a great way to leave the pitch that day, to have so many young lads playing and winning.

"We looked back on the DVD and we could have had another, maybe, 1-10 on the board. Even though we kicked 1-20, which is an unbelievable score, we left a lot more behind us. It was a mixed league. We were competitive in a lot of games and left a lot of games behind us. We went up to Derry, we gave them a nine-point head start and got it back to two.

"We can't afford to be giving that much of a lead early on in a game, especially going up to a difficult venue against a difficult team with history and tradition and you can't afford to be doing that.

"I felt in a lot of games we were competitive but really when it mattered most we dug deep and got the results we needed."

Irish Independent

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