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O'Sullivan none the wiser; GAA KERRY LOOK TO THE NEXT HURDLE.

Byline: MICHAEL SCULLY

TOM O'SULLIVAN last night admitted Kerry don't know where they stand in their bid for All-Ireland glory - despite their resounding 17 point victory over old foes Dublin on Monday.

Kerry defender O'Sullivan was pleased with the Croke Park display and hopes that it will provide the stepping stone to overcome Mayo or Meath in the last four - and set up a chance for a fifth All-Ireland winners medal.

However, the Rathmore man is unsure just how good Kerry are after they followed up their stuttering performances in the qualifiers to hammer the hapless Dubs.

"It's hard to know," he said, reflecting on the effort. "I don't know what way Dublin prepared. If they were on top form it was a 10 out of 10 performance from us, but if they were playing five out of 10 then it wasn't a 10 out of 10 from us. It is hard to call it. Everything went right for us.

"If we get to an All-Ireland final we would probably have liked to save that performance for that but hopefully we can build on it. When the goal went in it was just a perfect start.

"You have good and you have bad days and unfortunately for Dublin it was a good day for us."

Kerry were supposed to be a beaten docket after their listless displays against Cork in Munster and subsequent qualifiers against Sligo, Longford and Antrim - games they were fortunate enough to win.

But Jack O'Connor (right) and his management team had aimed to get Kerry right by the start of August and their ploy worked.

O'Sullivan said: "I got a buzz alright when I knew it was Dublin we were playing. We needed a big game in Croke Park.

"We wanted a big game, full house. We thought it might get us back on track again and hopefully we are back on track."

O'Sullivan paid tribute to the backroom team, who pulled off a couple of tactical manoeuvres that Dublin could find no answer to. "Maybe you wrote them off - maybe they weren't as bad as you thought they were," he smiled.

The Kerry forwards prevented short kick-outs from Stephen Cluxton and Darragh O'Se rediscovered his form in the middle of the field.

"Cluxton has great kick outs and you have to (target them), to be fair," said O'Sullivan. "It kept our forwards on their toes for the whole game. Our midfield was excellent, too.

"The ball that was coming in was under pressure and we probably found it easy enough to play inside."

But O'Sullivan's tight marking of Dublin's dangerman Bernard Brogan also played a massive part in Kerry's early dominance.

"I knew Bernard Brogan is one of the best players in the country at the moment.

"I knew what I was up against. I prepared well for it, I watched a few videos, I knew his style and I just stuck to the task and stuck well to him," said the Garda.

O'Sullivan also paid tribute to Mike McCarthy, whose return after two years to take the pivotal centre-back position was questioned. McCarthy was a talismanic presence on Monday but O'Sullivan insisted that was no surprise, given his form against Antrim in the previous outing.

"And only for Mike we may not have won that game. He was great again.

"He covered up and drove on well and it was just what we needed," he added.

CAPTION(S):

Tom O'Sullivan of Kerry stops Bernard Brogan getting the ball and, below, Darragh O Se outjumps Ciaran Whelan
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Aug 5, 2009
Words:592
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