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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 20 September, 2019
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'Diarmuid is a top man, I would have been very sorry if he couldn't partake in the game'

Connolly’s clearance was great news for Dublin fans.

Diarmuid Connolly takes to the pitch last Saturday in Croke Park.
Diarmuid Connolly takes to the pitch last Saturday in Croke Park.
Image: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

IT DOMINATED THE Irish sporting agenda last week but the furore over Diarmuid Connolly’s appeal did not sway the Dublin team’s focus from the task of preparing for Mayo.

It wasn’t sidetracking the Dublin camp but that didn’t stop Cian O’Sullivan from having sympathy for his teammate.

“We’d flagged it early in the week that this was going to be an issue and we said not to let it effect us.

External

“We’re used to blocking out external things at this stage and focusing on the task in hand.

“It could have been a big distraction but I thought we dealt with it quite well and Diarmuid dealt with it quite well.

“I heard the morning of the game that he got off. Obviously I was delighted to hear the good news that he would be available.

“As a team mate, you grow to know your team mates quite well personally over the course of a season.

“And Diarmuid is a top man. I would have been very sorry if he couldn’t partake in the game on Saturday.

Cian O'Sullivan and Diarmuid Connolly make their way out Cian O'Sullivan and Diarmuid Connolly make their way out before the drawn All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“He’s our vice captain and primarily, he leads by example with his work ethic and his great skill.

“He’s one of the leaders of the team.”

Ticking the semi-final box propels Dublin back into the decider on 20 September.

The occasion can be daunting yet it’s the third time in five years that O’Sullivan has been involved in a decider.

Enjoyable

“It’s a very enjoyable time. A combination of excitement and nerves and a little bit of giddiness creeps in too.

“Just being mindful of all those things and just admin things. Getting your tickets out of the way and people hounding you.

“I kind of hand those things over to my Dad so I can just focus on the task in hand.

“But it’s a great time. We’re in a position where a lot of lads have been through this before and they know to be wary of the little things.”

Bryan Sheehan tackles Cian O'Sullivan Cian O'Sullivan is tackled by Bryan Sheehan in the league game between the counties. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The presence of the Kerry in the opposition corner adds spice to the game for O’Sullivan.

“Everyone knows all about the rivalry at this stage with Kerry going back to the 60’s and 70’s.

Parents

“Especially when both your parents are from Kerry and all my relatives are down there.

“But I’m well used to it at this stage.”

“I think it’s a fantastic thing. I think it’s a fantastic part of the game. And I don’t think people will be disappointed with the game they’re going to see in two week’s time.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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