Tuesday 22 August 2017

O'Sullivan quits Cork panel to focus on club career

Conor O'Sullivan's departure underlines how Cork have reshaped their defence since 2013, with two-thirds of them now gone
Conor O'Sullivan's departure underlines how Cork have reshaped their defence since 2013, with two-thirds of them now gone
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Experienced Cork hurling defender Conor O'Sullivan has left their panel ahead of the Allianz League final.

The Sarsfields man was listed at number 17 in last weekend's semi-final programme but was replaced by Jamie Coughlan before throw-in and it is understood he informed management and team-mates of his decision just two days earlier.

"He played a good few games for us but I think he wanted to concentrate on his club at the minute and he doesn't see a future," Cork selector Johnny Crowley said.

"Jimmy (Barry-Murphy) and Mark (Landers) both spoke to him. That's the decision he made. They asked him to think about it, which he did. It is a pity but fellas make up their own mind."

O'Sullivan was a first-choice starter in 2013 when he lined out at corner-back in both of the All-Ireland finals, but he was dogged by injury last season and did not see any championship action.

He started three league games this year but only featured as a substitute against Tipperary and did not figure against Galway and Wexford.

O'Sullivan's departure underlines how Cork have reshaped their defence since 2013, with two-thirds of them now gone.

Brian Murphy has since retired, William Egan has taken time out to travel and Christopher Joyce is currently recovering from cruciate surgery so only Shane O'Neill and Steven McDonnell remain.

Current defenders Mark Ellis and Cormac Murphy, who both missed last Sunday's dramatic comeback against Dublin, should be back for the league final against Waterford, which will take place in Thurles on Sunday week (3.30).

Ellis missed out last Sunday due to an infection and Murphy got injured in training last Thursday.

Ellis could yet be back for next Saturday night's charity challenge match against Kilkenny in Pairc Ui Rinn (7.30).

Seamus Harnedy's late winner may have nicked victory but Patrick Horgan, who top-scored with 17 points (12fs, 2 '65s) against Dublin, reckoned that it was the Rebels' self-belief that dragged them across the line.

"When we started pouring on the pressure with 10 minutes to go they could have had 20 men on the pitch they wouldn't have stopped us," he said. "It was confidence and they couldn't stop it. We went in at half-time nine down and obviously people will think we had no hope but we've come back from that before."

Pairc Tailteann in Navan will host the EirGrid All-Ireland U-21 football final between Tipperary and Tyrone on Saturday week.

Irish Independent

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