Cian’s singular focus

by Karl Graham

CIAN O’Sullivan has insisted the Dublin players are focused on their performance in the All-Ireland final against Mayo on Sunday, but he does admit that all the talk of three in a row can be an unwelcome distraction.
The midfielder is one of three Kilmacud Crokes stars involved in the team, alongside Cillian O’Shea and Paul Mannion.
“You’d be lying if you said at some stage, subconsciously, it doesn’t seep through, there has been so much chat about it from family and friends,” O’Sullivan said in the lead-up to the final.
“I guess the important thing is to recognise that it is a distraction and something that could make you a little bit complacent or even make you take your eye off winning an All-Ireland final and the performance that is needed to do that.
“So I think it’s about not getting worried when you hear those kinds of things. It’s going to happen so it’s just about dealing with them by refocusing on the task in hand.”
Dublin eased to victory over Tyrone in the semi-final, thanks largely to the Ulstermen’s decision to set-up aiming to stifle their opponents rather than playing to their own strengths. The Dubs wouldn’t even consider doing something similar according to O’Sullivan.
“You can’t go changing your tactics or strategy too much because you only have three weeks going into the final. All your hard work strategising, and the game-plan stuff has been done earlier on.
“Obviously Mayo are going to set themselves up a lot differently than Tyrone did so that in itself is going to bring challenges in terms of how you are going to respond to how the opposition are going to set up.
“From our own perspective how we play football in general terms that will stay the same.”
As well as the three Cokes players, Naomh Olaf’s David Byrne and Ballyboden St Enda’s star Michael Darragh McAuley will also be hoping to see their names on the team sheet come Sunday.
While some of them are unlikely to start, manager Jim Gavin has insisted all positions on the team are still up for grabs.
“There is a blank sheet,” said Gavin. “It’s the choice that players make and what they bring to every session that will populate that team sheet of 26 players.
“What I’m interested in really is the present and what form players are bringing into this massive battle that we have.”
Gavin also revealed the spirit amongst the players despite the fierce competition to get into the team.
“Of course they all want game time. We do understand that. But if it’s the last quarter of the game that I’m asking the player to play or the full expanse of the game, that is the best thing for the team.”

Related Articles