Talk of unbeaten record 'was very hard to get away from' admits Dublin defender

Dublin defender Cian O’Sullivan admits getting rid of the distraction of their unbeaten tag is a ‘positive’ they can take from losing the Allianz League final.
Talk of unbeaten record 'was very hard to get away from' admits Dublin defender

That one-point loss to Kerry earlier this month was Dublin’s first defeat in either league or Championship since early March 2015 when they also lost to Kerry, an unbeaten run of 36 games.

Four-time All-Ireland winning centre-back O’Sullivan said players tried to ignore the unbeaten streak as it grew but admitted that became difficult.

He said they will view it as a positive that it is gone now and they can begin their quest for a third consecutive All- Ireland win with a clean slate.

“It (talk of the record) was very hard to get away from,” said O’Sullivan.

“It does seep into your subconscious and therefore can become a bit of a distraction to your preparations. That is done away with now. So is it a positive going into the summer? Yes. It’s a good thing that distraction is gone now.”

The 29-year-old said he found it difficult to escape discussions about the unbeaten run while in his day job as a tax consultant.

“You’d have clients or even just work colleagues saying it to you and it’s hard to escape everyone,” he said.

“If a client is sitting across from you and talking about it you can’t really tell them (to stop), or just walk away.”

The Kilmacud Crokes club man said another positive Dublin can take from the league decider is that they outscored Kerry down the stretch again.

Dublin trailed by five after Donnchadh Walsh’s 57th minute point for Kerry but outscored the Kingdom by 1-4 to 0-3 from then on.

In the six major games that the sides have played out this decade — the 2011 and 2015 All-Ireland finals, the 2013 and 2016 semi-finals and the last two league finals — Dublin have outscored Kerry by 6-20 to 0-12 from the 60th minute onwards.

It is an obvious psychological advantage they hold and one which O’Sullivan acknowledged is important heading into the Championship.

Said O’Sullivan: “We looked dead and buried with a couple of minutes to go in that game but we showed great mental resilience again.

“And that’s a common theme in this team in recent years that we have been able to dig out results and come from behind and stick to our plan.

“That mental resolve is huge and it’s great we showed it again against Kerry and we just came up short in the end.”

O’Sullivan said Dublin’s downfall was their lapse early in the second-half when Kerry hit them for six points without reply.

“We had a spell in the third quarter, when our distribution of the ball was just awful. Kerry turned us over, came down and kicked a few good scores. The winning of the game from Kerry’s perspective was in that period.”

Meanwhile, Dublin hurling full-back Eoghan O’Donnell insisted that Mark Schutte could yet play for Dublin this year.

The experienced forward and Cuala attacker, along with brother Paul, declined to return to the county panel after last month’s AIB All-Ireland Club triumph.

Defender Paul is nursing a broken finger and O’Donnell revealed he’s ‘stepped away from the panel’ while Mark is studying for exams.

“Mark’s taking a step away for a couple of weeks and hopefully we’ll see him back after that,” said O’Donnell.

“No final decision on Mark has been made as far as I’m aware.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up