The three-time All-Ireland medallist said his ‘impression’ just under three weeks out from the start of the O’Byrne Cup is that there’ll be no departures.
That may come as a surprise to some supporters considering Alan Brogan, 34 in January, agonised throughout last winter and spring before eventually returning, while midfielder Denis Bastick will be 35 when the Championship begins.
The day after his third All-Ireland win last September, Bastick spoke of his young child and how he’d ‘miss him growing up for another year of his life’ if he continued his inter-county career.
Dublin are just back from a team holiday in Thailand and on Friday will be presented with their Celtic Cross medals for the All-Ireland win. O’Sullivan said from any dealings he’s had with the duo in question, there’s been no talk of quitting.
“When you are coming off the back of a year like we’ve had, it’s hard to say that you are not going to come back again and give it another lash,” said O’Sullivan. “As far as things are right now, I haven’t heard any indications that they won’t return and they are two massive players for us, just in terms of their leadership. They have seen it all before and they are two guys that when they speak in the dressing-room, everybody shuts up and listens. It would be a blow if they decided not to come back but for now I have every impression that they will.”
Bastick and Brogan may be lured back by the prospect of being part of the first Dublin team since 1977 to retain the Sam Maguire Cup and the first team from Leinster to do it since Meath in 1988.
Since Cork’s back-to-back heroics in 1990, just one other team has managed to successfully defend the title,Kerry in 2007. In Dublin’s case, they realise at this stage the potential pitfalls that await them next year having captured an All-Ireland every second season since 2011 and, so far, failed to back it up.
“We were there in 2012 and 2014 and we know what it feels like and we are just really looking forward to the challenge of trying to win back to backs,” said Kilmacud Crokes man O’Sullivan, 27.
“It is hard to pick out specifics about the previous times, what the lessons were, it’s just a really tall order, a hard feat to win back-to-back and it is not going to come easy this time either. We were very well prepared in ‘12 and ‘14 and we just came up short against better opposition.
“The football championship is so competitive, there are any number of teams that can win it any year. You just have to be at the top of your game and tick all the boxes, in terms of preparation.”
O’Sullivan is confident he will have an uninterrupted start to the new year following the hamstring concern that plagued his All-Ireland final build up.
He had to be lifted off the pitch with hamstring trouble after the semi-final replay win over Mayo but started the final and played the majority of the game.
“I’m feeling alright,” said O’Sullivan, at the launch of the annual GOAL Mile challenge which takes place as normal at venues around the country throughout December.
“The hamstring is fully healed at this stage, rehab has gone well so feeling good. I haven’t played much football the last few weeks, just enjoyed the break really and feel well rested so I’m looking forward to getting back training in the new year.”