Cian O’Sullivan’s clubmate plays down chances of recovering for final

Former Dublin attacker Ray Cosgrove has offered a downbeat assessment of the injury that threatens to rule club-mate Cian O’Sullivan out of the All-Ireland final.

O’Sullivan has a history of hamstring injuries and had to be lifted off the pitch after the semi-final replay win over Mayo.

Manager Jim Gavin has suggested the two-time All-Ireland winning centre-back will be fit to play though Cosgrove admitted O’Sullivan himself appeared less optimistic in recent days.

“I got a text off him on Monday morning, I think he’s going to be touch and go,” said Cosgrove. “I know the medical team will do their utmost but I’d say there’ll be a question mark over him.

“He’s doing everything he can to get right. I believe he even has an ice machine up in his house that he can use, believe it or not. The boys were telling me that on Sunday after our club game, before I even got to talking to Cian.

“He’ll do everything in his ability to be right but it depends on how bad the tear was. If it’s a proper grade two or three, it’s usually a month you’d imagine.

“He’s had a lot of trouble with the hamstring over the years. I don’t think he was carrying anything into the game. He was probably just fatiguing in the 70th minute when it has the biggest potential to happen.

“I think he even kicked the ball after he pulled up. He should have just dropped it but he did kick the ball afterwards and probably did even more damage, I’d imagine.”

Ger Brennan would have been an obvious alternative to O’Sullivan, or even the first choice centre-back, but has taken the year out to regain full fitness.

“I thought even the last day against Mayo, Cian was immense,” continued 2002 AllStar Cosgrove. “The unseen work that he does, he’d be a huge loss. The question is, who do you bring in? John Small has been excellent, the bit that he’s played, but he’s a kid going into a cauldron like that. It could be a very big ask for him.

“Then you probably have to shuffle the pack. You could put Mick Fitzsimons in but that has a big impact on the team. So yeah, he’d be a huge loss if he wasn’t available.

“He’s having a brilliant year. He’s been so solid and consistent throughout the year. And with his Kerry background, it’s a game that he’d rise up to. I’d say Jim Gavin is doing everything in his capacity to get him right.”

Cosgrove was speaking at yesterday’s launch of the FBD 7s tournament which takes place next Saturday and is hosted by the Kilmacud Crokes club.

He was joined by Crokes forward Paul Mannion, an All-Ireland medallist and All-Star nominee in 2013, who missed all of this season with Dublin because of study commitments in China.

Mannion was initially meant to be back for the Championship but found that exams ran into June and he opted to play football in America instead, potentially costing him an All-Ireland medal.

The speedy corner-forward said he will attend next weekend’s final as a fan, on Hill 16, and will return in 2016 with huge enthusiasm.

“In my last year with Dublin, 2014, that was something I was probably lacking a small bit actually after a good couple of years,” admitted Mannion. “But now definitely, I’m very determined to get back in there and give it another shot. Sometimes you just need a kind of a break and time away from the game. I haven’t really had that now in a few years. I think it will do me good.”

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