Tomás Ó Sé aims to give teaching colleague Jamie O'Sullivan a Munster final education
Published 14/11/2015 | 02:30
"He was never my favourite one of the Ó Sé's, I'd be more a Marc fan really because (unlike the others) he was skilful, natural . . . and stayed on the pitch longer," jokes Jamie O'Sullivan wearing a roguish smile
Across the table in a classroom, at Gaelscoil de hÍde in Fermoy, Tomás Ó Sé raises an eyebrow.
The two men are now colleagues, O'Sullivan having been recently added to the teaching staff, and tomorrow they'll lock horns in the Munster SFC semi-final at Páirc Uí Rinn - Tomás in the colours of the Cork champions Nemo Rangers, Jamie with Killarney Legion.
Last weekend Jamie, 24, kicked four points as his side rescued a late draw against South Kerry in the Kerry county final. The Kerry County Board decided that Legion, as the last 'club' left standing in the County Championship, should represent Kerry in the All-Ireland club series - rather than club champions Dingle.
And for O'Sullivan the fixtures are mounting up.
"It's hectic really," he said this week. "We had the county final last Sunday, I graduated from Hibernia College in Dublin on Wednesday, the Munster semi is on Sunday, the replay of the county final next weekend and then hopefully a Munster club final the weekend after that."
For the evergreen Tomás, this is familiar territory - though at times he can't believe, at 37, he's still fighting for more honours.
"In 2001, my club at home, An Ghaeltacht, actually played Nemo Rangers in the Munster championship so it's gas that I'm now playing for them. The Cork versus Kerry rivalry will be there . . . but this time I'll be representing a Cork side. Of course I always have the grá for my home county too though," said Ó Sé between classes.
"After taking a year off football I threw my lot in with Nemo but I didn't think that come the middle of November I'd be facing a Kerry club and aiming for a Munster club final."
And the five-time All-Ireland winner, who's been teaching in Fermoy for over a decade, is looking forward to pitting his wits against his colleague.
"Legion are a good young, fit, hungry side. Will it be odd facing a team from Kerry? I don't think so, I mean it'll just be like when I was playing for An Ghaeltacht and I was lining out against any other club team in the county. You know the Legion boys have waited such a long time to win a County Championship in Kerry (69 years) that they might focus on the replay of that game and leave us off lightly," he suggested with a twinkle in his eye.
But O'Sullivan has other ideas: "It's a bit of an odd one, representing Kerry at senior level in Munster without having won the County Championship first - but we know these chances don't come around too often. We'll give it everything."
Just seven years old when Tomás first made his senior inter-county debut with Kerry, O'Sullivan grew up watching the outstanding defender and paid tribute to his new colleague.
He said: "I would have been young when Tomás was bombing up the field, two feet off the ground, kicking points for Kerry, I'd be roaring him on. It's great for me now to learn off him both as a teacher here in Gaelscoil de hÍde and as a fellow footballer."
But with a place in this year's Munster club final up for grabs, the veteran O Sé will be the one aiming to provide a football education.