Cian’s time to sit back and savour Sam

by Karl Graham

WITH a fourth All-Ireland football title with Dublin in the bank and the dust starting to settle over the first championship double for the county in nearly 40 years, the time for reflection has finally begun for Cian O’Sullivan.
As January comes around each year, many players down sticks for their clubs and turn their focus towards their county, hoping that their long trek will culminate in a date at Croke Park come September.
It can be a long slog for the players who try to juggle an ever-growing football schedule with work and personal life. O’Sullivan combines a management position at tax accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers with his sweeper role for Dublin.
With the sky blues, he has experienced some amazing moments, ones where the gas tank is empty and running on reserves. But a shot of adrenaline enters the body allowing it to find a new lease of life and bask in the glory of an influential achievement. That feeling is something O’Sullivan has been able to experience once again in the Croke Park cauldron.
“It’s just the best feeling in the world,” he told GazetteSport. “You hear people saying that the birth of their child or wedding day is the best time of their life, and you have to tick those boxes.
“But, to me, I’d be surprised if anything can emulate that moment when you are sitting on the pitch with the 30 lads that you have soldiered with for the last nine or ten months and gone through a lot of difficult, tense and hard-fought times.
“That moment when it all pays off and the culmination of all the hard work, it is a very special place,” said O’Sullivan.
So intense is the lead up to that moment, however, that its passing can come as somewhat of a relief.
“We are all back with our clubs now so the training doesn’t stop. But being able to mentally switch off from Dublin mode is something the guys will welcome over the coming weeks.”
The boys in blue put in a much improved performance in the replay but when asked if he was happier having won it on a better performance than what might have been considered a steal in the first tie, due to the two own goals, O’Sullivan was unsure.
“I probably wouldn’t look on it that way; winning an All-Ireland is the main thing at the end of the day but it was probably nice to get a second chance to perform. Whilst we probably didn’t have the perfect performance again, I think that is just the nature of finals, we definitely were better than we were on the first day.”
The Kilmacud Crokes man is also one of the growing number of voices asking for the controversial black card rule to be re-examined.
“It has been quite topical since it has been brought in and I feel for the referees because it is so hard to have a consistent approach to marshalling it, so it is not easy and it’s not the referee’s fault.
“Perhaps it is something that should be looked at to see if it can be improved because you would question if there is really a penalty there to a team when they can just bring on another player and have a strong squad.”
With talk amongst some having predictably turned to three-in-a-row for Dublin, the 28-year-old was quick to quash any such premature talk.
“Three in a row would be a massive achievement but probably not something we are going to focus on.
For us, next year is starting off with the O’Byrne Cup in January and working on those performances.
“Jim has a very methodical and process-driving approach to management and he definitely won’t be letting the lads get carried away with notions of three-in-a-row in January.”

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