O’Sullivan: Results, not records, Dublin’s targets

Another record looks set to fall underneath the Dublin juggernaut on Sunday afternoon.

This time it’s the county’s previous best of 22 consecutive championship victories in Leinster but Cian O’Sullivan insists that feet are firmly planted on the ground.

Jim Gavin’s side has already matched the run which was achieved by the Blues between 1974 and ’80 but it’s another statistic, like the annexing of three consecutive All-Irelands, that is unlikely to go to the heads of the players.

O’Sullivan agrees the group’s groundedness is one of the qualities that stands to them most. “When you start listening to all that stuff, that’s when complacency sets in.

“Last year when we won the All-Ireland final, genuinely there wasn’t many guys who would have been thinking at the end, ‘Yes, we’ve done the three-in-a-row’. That wasn’t what we were focusing on, or aiming for.

“It’s a credit to how the team has been prepared by the management that they can get us into that state of mind, into that focus.

“Of course, it has been a cornerstone. That’s the way we’ve approached everything for the last six years and they’ve been good campaigns, and we’re not going to change anything this year.”

The Kilmacud Crokes defender, who is on the mend following shoulder surgery, admits there wasn’t as much focus in the Dublin panel earlier in his career.

“After 2011, there was so much hype around the team and celebration and a great atmosphere around it, that we kind of got caught up in that a little bit.

“The humility in knowing what it took to win that 2011 All-Ireland final, and how much we had to grind out the game against Kerry in the final, that probably went away from us a little bit in 2012.

“And that’s just when you start letting the praise and everything seep in as well. You possibly get a tiny bit complacent, and all it takes is a fraction or two for you to be off.

“Again, the biggest learning for me throughout my career, and it’s something I’ve taken into work and every other aspect of my life, is that there is no substitute for experience and there’s no substitute for doing.

“You can talk about stuff at team meetings and up on flip charts until the cows comes home about the last five minutes of the game, you’re three points down and, ‘You know, we’re going to stick to this, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and we’re not going to let ourselves be derailed’.

“But it’s not until you’re faced with that scenario when there are 80,000 people in Croke Park screaming and roaring and you have to respond that you really learn how to do it.”



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