Despite slipping through the trapdoor in Division 2, not too many were surprised at what Dublin did to Wexford on Saturday night.
After relegation, they entered the Leinster Championship rearfoot and with question marks over them – which has been an unfamiliar position for the Dubs over the past decade.
Still, no one was shocked to see a nearly fully loaded Dublin with a fit Con O’Callaghan in tow tearing down Wexford in a way that would have made their six-in-a-row team proud.
“He’s someone who’s a great player for us and you saw what he can do over the weekend and we’re really happy that Con is fully fit and back on the pitch,” said fellow O’ forward Cormac Costello Callaghan, from Dublin, at the launch of this year’s Men’s and Women’s AIG Cups & Shields at Elm Park Golf Club, Dublin.
“He’s a very direct player, he’s extremely strong on the ball, he’s also a team player, it’s very nice to play with Con because you get chances, he’s someone you can feed on too.
“He’s a selfless player and he’s someone who puts you in the game. He’s a big leader for us on the pitch, a big presence and someone we’d love to have back.”
Despite her demotion earlier this year, few in Leinster see any real opposition to her.
Dublin remains the clear favorite for another provincial title. Meath is next on the list at Croke Park and should they make it to the final as expected they will face either Kildare or Westmeath.
Kildare beat them earlier this year but you get the feeling Dublin are just picking up steam. They are also second in the betting only to Kerry for Sam Maguire.
“The league kinda showed you that you can’t take anything for granted, especially after last year against Mayo.
“We don’t make (illusions) ourselves … and that goes for every single campaign. As soon as you lose sight of the ball you will be penalized. You have to be mentally correct for every single game, no matter who or where you play.
“You have to have that mentality of doing your best and giving it your all.”
Costello made his debut back in 2013 and last year’s All-Ireland semi-final loss was only his second league game loss to Dublin after losing to Donegal in 2014. Winner of minor and U-21 All Ireland medals and seven senior Celtic Crosses, he hasn’t had many bad days in the Sky Blue jersey.
“You obviously hear a bit (of post-relegation criticism) but I haven’t looked into it too much. For example, I know what we were trying to do… I sort of touched on it, I think we tried about 50 different players during the league campaign, so there was a lot of roster rotation. A lot of guys were injured, we tried to try new playing systems. Individual performances were probably not good enough and the piece constancy. We worried about that more than looking outward and thinking about a crisis.
“If you don’t win games, you know you’re not in a good position. Finally, after losing to Monaghan and being relegated, we knew that wasn’t our goal. But look, we analyzed the league and saw where we could improve.
“We know it’s a one-size-fits-all. So we parked the league and now just focus on the championship and the big challenge Meath will bring in two weeks time.
Costello has had to be patient at times during his Dublin career, but he has now started five league games for the county.
“When you’re on the team you push to start or play as long as possible, but at the same time I had no illusions that I was in a very privileged position where there were guys who weren’t on the team, or guys who were didn’t come as a substitute, so you’re very thankful for it every time you can play.
“It’s something it is and I’m thankful I’ve had a few starts and we’ll see what happens over the summer.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/the-league-showed-us-that-you-cant-take-anything-for-granted-cormac-costello-41612357.html “The league has shown us that nothing can be taken for granted” – Cormac Costello