Dublin star forward Con O’Callaghan received the honour for the PwC/GPA August Player Of The Month
As if picking up a fourth All Ireland title last weekend. 23 year old Con O’Callaghan today received the accolade of August Football Player Of the Month from the PwC/GPA.
The month before the Championship Final. An experimental Dublin side finished out there Super 8 Campaign with a win over Tyrone in Omagh. And while Con didn’t feature in that game, he did return in style. Dublin faced Mayo in the All Ireland Semi Final at the end of the month.
Two goals by Con O’Callaghan in the 37th and 46th minutes of a sustained and clinical attacking performance from Dublin. It saw them demolish their biggest rivals this decade. And they advanced to what would be two memorable games against Kerry, with the Dubs completing the five in a row.
Breeding New Leaders In Dublin
The Cuala dual star is among a small but growing elite group of Dublin players. A bunch who have yet to lose a championship tie. And he’s in good company alongside Brian Fenton, Brian Howard, John Small and Eoin Murchan.
O’Callaghan believes that new leaders are already stepping up in the current squad. And with the likes of Stephen Cluxton and Bernard Brogan coming to the end of their inter county careers it’s needed.
“It’s a natural thing that has happened the last couple of years.” Con told RTE Sport on receiving his award.
“With young lads coming through – Peadar Ó Cofaigh has been flying, Brian Howard is a big leader and Murch has been there before but there is a big, strong presence from the young lads as well.”
“If a team is going to be successful, you kind of have to blood young lads and trust that they will grow into that leadership role.”
O’Callaghan from babyface to beast
O’Callaghan has grown in both physical appearance and mental stature over the last number of years. The last twelve months has seen an obvious ascendancy in his physique. He’s displayed the speed, agility, power and strength that Dublin supporters have become accustomed too as if it was effortless.
“I suppose I’ve been getting stronger every year but there is probably only a kilo or two difference in my weight since last year.
“It was a good bit of hard work. This year was the first year I had a League campaign with Dublin because we were knocked out with Cuala so I kind of had a bit more time to work on all aspects of my game.
Con was held to a single score in the drawn final. But he opened up more and bagged four in the replay. And admits that both games were really as tight as they looked.
“During both games there were moments where you’re a little bit worried about what could potentially happen.” he admitted
“In the second game, in fairness to Kerry, we went 0-5 to 0-1 up and looked like we were going really strong. And they came at us really hard, got into half-time and we were playing some of the best football we played all year, and we were still only drawing.
“Even the second half, when we got the goal and a point we went four points up. Against Mayo we pulled away but Kerry came back at us again and got back to a point.”
“It makes it all the more thrilling when it’s in those crunch moments that you can rally round each other.”