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scary games to play alone

2021-06-18

Cian O¨Sullivan says that Dublin¨s quest for the `perfect game¨ is what drives the All-Ireland football champions as they bid for another record in the shape of a seventh title in succession.

It¨s a scary thought for the chasing pack that the Sky Blues defender claimed that Dublin haven¨t reached that point of perfection yet, even as they have demolished various opposition this past decade.

At yesterday¨s launch of RTE¨s championship coverage, O¨Sullivan addressed the issue of whether the holders will have the motivation to dig deep again when a seventh All-Ireland in a row is on the line.

14 September 2019; Cian O¨Sullivan of Dublin and Sportsfile photographer Seb Daly following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay match between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Pic: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

`For us, it¨s never been about silverware or trophies or Celtic crosses. We¨ve kept a very tight circle around the team. It¨s a really strong connection. Quite an intimate environment.

`We have our goals and we¨re always trying to achieve those standards ! it doesn¨t matter what game we¨re going into.

`That¨s how we¨re benchmarking success. That¨s where our motivation is coming from. Trying to get to those standards.

Cian O'Sullivan DublinDublin¨s Cian O¨Sullivan. Allianz Football League Division 1, Parnell Park, Clontarf West, Co. Dublin 17/10/2020. Pic: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

`Get that perfect game or those perfect two halves. It doesn¨t matter whether we¨re playing an All-Ireland final or the first round of the league, that¨s still there. I guess over time, through repetition and repetition, it¨s become very meaningful and embedded amongst the squad.

`When that¨s your goal, it¨s hard to achieve that goal. Whether that¨s attainable or not, we¨ve haven¨t got there yet. But that¨s what drives us.¨

Before that title defence, Dublin face Donegal in an eagerly-awaited Allianz Football League semi-final on Saturday week at Kingspan Breffni Park, the match-up that many expected in the All-Ireland semi-final in the winter championship until Cavan had other ideas.

Cian O'Sullivan DublinDublin players celebrate with the Sam Maguire Cup following the 2020 GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Pic: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

`It¨s going to be a great challenge. Whether there will be more games after it in the league, we¨ll have to wait and see. They have a new style of play and new blood. They look very energetic. That¨s going to be a really good test for us.¨

The PwC GAA/GPA All Star Player of the Month nominees for May were announced yesterday as well, with the football selection in keeping with the open, attacking play seen to date in this year¨s Allianz Football League.

Kerry¨s David Clifford and Dublin¨s Con O¨Callaghan have both long been signposted as special talents and they make the shortlist of three after being in sensational form.

The nominees for the @PwCIreland #GAA / @gaelicplayers Footballer of the Month for May are @Kerry_Official’s David Clifford, @DubGAAOfficial’s Con O’Callaghan and @officialdonegal’s Paddy McBrearty!

Who would you vote for? #PwCAllStars pic.twitter.com/ZFt6w7zjDQ

! The GAA (@officialgaa) June 3, 2021

Paddy McBrearty too makes it after he hit eight points alone (five from play) for Donegal in last weekend¨s thriller against Armagh.

In hurling, Antrim¨s seismic victory over Clare in Division One of the Allianz Hurling League is reflected in Ciaran Clarke making the list of hurling nominations after his sharp-shooting played such a part in that famous win.

Cork have been another team who have used the competition to good effect so far and Mark Coleman has been at the heart of a possession-based game, pulling the strings at the back.

Cathal Mannion too has been superb in Galway¨s campaign and completes the hurling list.