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O'Sullivan wary of Monaghan's belief level

By Declan Bogue

Dublin midfielder Cian O'Sullivan has warned against any complacency creeping into their camp, after Monaghan played a gruelling period of extra-time in their Round 4B qualifier win over Kildare only last Saturday night.

The Kilmacud Crokes man was not in Croke Park to check out their future opposition, instead catching the game on his sofa and avoiding the downpours.

However demanding the contest was, he feels Monaghan emerged with their confidence restored after their Ulster final defeat to Donegal.

"Anytime you come through a battle like that it's a massive mental boost, but I suppose there's pros and cons as well," the 26-year-old tax consultant said.

"They played 90-100 minutes of football and they probably had a few bumps and bruises on the Sunday, so this week it's probably just focus on recovery and they probably won't be doing too many tough sessions. You can probably draw pros and cons out of coming through a game like that."

Already, there has been talk in this week's newspapers of a possible clash between Dublin and Donegal, as if their quarter-finals today against Monaghan and Armagh respectively are merely a minor inconvenience.

Still, O'Sullivan doesn't bite when he is asked if it would help facing this northern opposition ahead of another Ulster team in an All-Ireland semi-final.

"The first main focus for us is ourselves and the opposition second," he says by way of deflection. "So no matter who we come up against that's the same approach – whether it's a northern or non-northern team – so I don't know if that will be a factor."

Last season, O'Sullivan won an All-Star at centre-back. He might have lined out in most games at midfield but because of Ger Brennan's injury woes he made telling contributions in the heart of the defence.

This season, with Brennan still out with ankle surgery undertaken earlier in the year, Nicky Devereux has made the number six jersey his own. It has released O'Sullivan back into midfield and his formidable partnership with Michael Darragh Macauley, whose unorthodox style he describes as, "The least predictable man!"

He explains: "I have a good relationship with Michael, on and off the field, and there's a good understanding there. I can't think of anyone you'd rather line out in midfield with. He's a fantastic player, has a fantastic heart and fantastic engine so it's a source of comfort having him there."

Dublin are bidding to become the first team since Kerry in 2006 and 2007 to put back-to-back All-Irelands together.

"We've seen in the past with teams trying to retain All-Irelands, going well and, all of a sudden, dumped out," cautions O'Sullivan. "You just never know. There's no guarantees, and we have to be aware of that."

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