‘For a guy who has given so much to the club and to the county you’ve got to let him off’ – Kilmacud cope without star

THE ABSENCE OF a serial All-Ireland winner might derail the plans of most clubs in their provincial opener but Kilmacud Crokes had always planned to operate without Cian O’Sullivan for yesterday’s AIB Leinster SFC quarter-final. 

Cian O’Sullivan lifts the trophy after the Dublin county final victory for Kilmacud Crokes.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

They coped just fine in breezing past St Peter’s Dunboyne to run out victors by 2-17 to 0-7 and advance to the Leinster semi-final.

O’Sullivan will be back in the frame for that game against Portlaoise on 25 November but after lifting the trophy after their Dublin final victory, there was never a prospect of him lining out yesterday against the Meath champions as he spent the weekend on his stag in Madrid.

O’Sullivan did land at Páirc Tailteann in time to tog out for the match but despite going through the warm-up, it was announced that he was a late withdrawal beforehand with Aidan Jones deputising.

Kilmacud brought on six substitutes during the game yet joint manager Robbie Brennan explained why they kept O’Sullivan in reserve.

“In fairness, he got back, landed in for about quarter to one here, but he was never going to play.

“The wedding is at Christmas – so it won’t clash across anything. Look, visually it was great to have him here but no, he was never going to play.

“There were a good few (players), Paul Mannion was one and there were a few other lads, close friends, who were due to go but obviously the game took preference.

“But I think for Cian, it was his own stag, and for a guy who has given so much to the club and to the county you’ve got to let him off.

“He didn’t book it in fairness, it was his friends who booked it. That was his excuse anyway.”

Kilmacud Crokes joint manager Robbie Brennan (second from left).

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

O’Sullivan’s All-Ireland winning Dublin team-mate Mannion certainly made his mark on the scoreboard, chalking up 2-6 before coming off in the closing stages.

“What he has done with Dublin he has carried in with his club form, which you don’t always get. So he’s a massive plus for us, a massive plus.

“He’s such a threat for opposition to have to mark him straight away and then we’ve other guys who step up then if he’s held.”

Paul Mannion netted from the penalty spot yesterday for Kilmacud Crokes.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Kilmacud will not dwell on this victory for long with Portlaoise, a formidable force in Leinster, looming into view in the semi-final.

“Laois championships for them aren’t much of a high any more so I’m sure Leinster has been their focus all along whereas we had to get out of Dublin first.

“It’s back in Parnell in two weeks so we’ll be ready for them.”

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