Ballymun Kickhams man James McCarthy says Dublin are taking nothing for granted as their pursuit of a 14th Leinster senior football championship title in 15 years comes into view.
They now know they will meet Louth on May 25 in O’Moore Park at 7pm after the wee county saw off Wexford last weekend.
Asked whether the provincial title still holds much weight for him, McCarthy has never lost a game in Leinster but insists it remains a priority.
“We are very much focused on the Leinster championship, we always are,” he said.
It has always served us well and we were waiting and watching closely to who our opponents would be and now we know it’s Louth. All our training is for that and we never look further ahead than the next game.
“I’d have played against a few good Louth guys over the years. I played college football against Andy McDonnell and Jim McEneaney so I know Louth have good footballers.
“It’s a hugely exciting time of year getting ready for the championship. We had a break with the club for a few weeks so it’s good then to get back with the lads. It’s always a good time of year, like you’re getting ready for summer.”
For the first time in a while, Dublin come into the summer series without the league title in the bag. Their later return to training than other counties has been well documented with suggestions they were using the competition as their preseason.
In the face of that suggestion, McCarthy said there was some experimentation but the focus to win every game is always the same.
“This year’s league was a bit of a mixed bag, we lost a few games but we learnt a lot from it as well and got a few new players tried out and stuff and got back up to speed.
“A lot of our more experienced guys were out as well so we’re happy enough.
“We go out to try and win every game we go out to play, it’s no different in the league, Leinster Championship or All-Ireland series. We didn’t achieve that in the league so obviously that was disappointing.
“But we took plenty of things from that into the championship, like trying out younger guys and playing against top class competition.
“So there are positives going into the championship.”
Talk of the five in-a-row is never far away but McCarthy says that remains out of his side’s control.
“Look, we’ve never looked at ‘anything in-a-row’ before and won’t be doing it now. Championships are hard enough to win at any time so we’re just working hard, getting our heads down, training hard and just focusing game-by-game.
“There is a lot of talk about it but not from us. The way I look at it a lot of people just want to wish you well and wish you the best of luck and you’ve just got take it that way.
“We’re just trying to keep our heads down, push each other on and keep focused.”