Thursday 29 September 2016

O'Sullivans keep it in the family as Cork eye more glory

Published 09/05/2015 | 02:30

Doireann O’Sullivan has grown accustomed to success and this afternoon she goes in search of a third Division 1 League medal, to add to her two All-Ireland medals as well as a Munster title
Doireann O’Sullivan has grown accustomed to success and this afternoon she goes in search of a third Division 1 League medal, to add to her two All-Ireland medals as well as a Munster title

Doireann O'Sullivan has so many close relatives on the Cork panel, there isn't room for her cousin in the car to training.

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O'Sullivan and her three sisters pile in, so cousin Maura O'Callaghan and three other Mourneabbey team-mates have to make alternative arrangements.

"It's good craic going to training in the car," she says.

The O'Sullivan sisters - Doireann, Ciara, Roisin and Aine - as well as O'Callaghan will be hoping that today marks another proud moment for the family.

Doireann (20), in her fourth season in the senior set-up, has grown accustomed to success and this afternoon she goes in search of a third Division 1 League medal, to add to her two All-Ireland medals as well as a Munster title.

As O'Sullivan looks back on her breakthrough year of 2012, she still appreciates how welcome she was made feel and despite her young age, she now feels it is her duty to do the same for the younger players coming through nowadays.

"My first year playing I was minor so I'd only be at training once a week," she recalls.

"But the likes of Juliet (Murphy), Nollaig (Cleary) and Elaine Harkin who have all now retired were great.

"They were really welcoming. Even stuff like them knowing your name when you came. I know they're only small things, but it made a massive difference for the likes of them to acknowledge you and even pass you the ball in training.

"When you're younger they were the girls you'd be looking up to.

"Even this year we've gotten to the Minor Munster final, and there are girls from that team we'd always be trying to include in the senior panel as well because there's a few of them playing minor and senior too.

"But I've had my go being the new face, so it's now my turn to include the younger girls."

An improving Galway side stand in the Rebelettes' way of adding yet another title to their cluttered trophy cabinet but the insatiable drive in the older players continues to rub off on the newer faces.

So what is it that makes this Cork team so successful?

"I suppose the belief that we have," O'Sullivan asserts.

"Even the All-Ireland last year when we were down 10 points I remember being on the sideline and thinking 'this is it for us' but I was sitting beside my sister and she said we'd still win.

"I was starting to doubt it, but the girls on the pitch were saying 'we can do this, we can do this'. I think it's definitely the belief that might set us apart.

"Eamonn (Ryan) says we're not just good players, but great people. The hunger that's there.

"Even from the minor girls at the weekend, they went down a few points, but it was the senior girls that stood up because they believed as well.

"I suppose maybe the fear might set in on the other team. We hope it does."

Cork have already beaten Galway by a point earlier in the year but O'Sullivan is firmly putting that to one side ahead of today's decider at Parnell Park.

"The game against Galway was months ago so it won't have much say in it. It'll be fierce tough," she says. "They have very good forwards, and Tracy Leonard and Annette Clarke in midfield. They've a lot of firepower and we'll have to man-mark a few of them.

"It's been a rocky road for us, definitely but the semi-final against Kerry was tough so that will stand to us."

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