Tuesday 21 November 2017

O'Sullivan making the most of Dubs' rare old times

“It’s funny how these things ebb and flow,” says the Kilmacud Crokes man. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
“It’s funny how these things ebb and flow,” says the Kilmacud Crokes man. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

To help keep the good times rolling, Cian O'Sullivan keeps the bad stuff close by.

That's why he can easily recall Kerry's demolition of Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final of 2009. Or Meath's dismantling of them the following season.

After those games, an All-Ireland title felt outside the realms of possibility but what they couldn't know was they were on their way to a golden era for football in the capital.

"It's funny how these things ebb and flow," says the Kilmacud Crokes man.

"Teams go through patches of good and bad times. I remember my first year playing on the Dublin team.

"We got to an All-Ireland quarter-final against Kerry and I can't remember the last time we were in a semi-final before that... A massive deal as it always is and we got beaten by Kerry (by 17 points). That was 2009. Two years later we were lifting Sam in 2011.

"In such a short space of time things changed and it's something we're very conscious of in the Dublin team, that sport is very fickle.

"There's no guarantees and you could be on top of the hill, the king of the hill one week, and the next week the whole thing could fall asunder."

With each swashbuckling win those memories fade a little more. On Sunday they'll be expected to pick up a 12th Leinster title in 13 years with a straightforward win over Westmeath.

Read more: Harte sticks with tried and trusted

But talk of Sunday's game being a foregone conclusion is exactly the kind of thing he looks to avoid.

"The difficult thing is not listening to friends and family. They'll talk to you and they'll say things to you about winning at the weekend. And you try and shut that out ... We know the reality of what we need to do and that's what matters.

"It doesn't matter what the newspapers are saying, what the pundits are saying or what the bookies are saying.

"It's a great time to be playing football with Dublin but we're conscious that it won't last forever.

"These things come in ebbs and flows and teams have their peaks and troughs, Armagh in the early noughties, the Tyrone teams ... and Tyrone are definitely not gone, they're as strong as ever this year and you see Kerry winning a rake of All-Irelands in the noughties.

"We've won three in the last five years which is absolutely outstanding but it's a great time to be playing football for Dublin and I'm very fortunate to be around and playing but we're very conscious of the bad days we've had.

"They're a constant reminder of the reality of sport and the reality that there's no guarantees."

Westmeath's championship form continues to run at odds with their league performances where consecutive relegations means they will operate in the basement division in 2017.

"By their own admission they were probably disappointed with their league campaign in getting relegated to Division 4 but they are a good side with some fantastic players - Kieran Martin, Paul Sharry, Callum McCormack.

"It's not really a surprise to see that they're in a Leinster final yet again."

Read more: Sunday will be true test of Tyrone potential

Irish Independent

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