College ties to be set aside as O'Shea plots downfall of familiar faces
When Seán O'Shea looks around Páirc Uí Chaoimh tonight, he'll see several familiar, if not friendly, faces.
Earlier this year, he won a Sigerson Cup with Cork players Mark White, Kevin Flahive, Liam O'Donovan and Cian Kiely, all of whom he'll be plotting the downfall of in tonight's Munster SFC final.
"It's still a massive rivalry between Kerry and Cork," O'Shea says. "Now it's quite a healthy rivalry, there's good craic there too, so I suppose on the field the next day the friendship will be gone for that hour and 20 minutes or whatever.
"Being down there, the quality of these players, you know what they can bring so it's the same for them with us. In fact, being familiar with each other works both ways really."
O'Shea has been one of the form players so far this year and if Cork need an inside track on the Kenmare star, they can turn to Billy Morgan who was in charge of that UCC team.
"He epitomises everything about Cork football and the respect that everyone from not only Cork and around Munster and Ireland has for Billy shows the stature of the man I suppose.
"And working under him for the last two years has been very beneficial."
O'Shea has already squeezed a lot into his young career. Along with this year's Sigerson Cup, he's picked up a pair of All-Ireland minor medals and a Munster U-21 medal.
This spring, he mixed UCC and Kerry duties but insists the hectic schedule was to his liking.
"I actually found it very enjoyable to be honest. You're going from game to game. When you're training for five or six weeks before a game fellas would be giving out too, so it was great to be going from game to game and there was great momentum there and just a very enjoyable part of the year.
Eager "I didn't have too much time to think about the games either. Sometimes you can over-think games so when you're going from a game on Saturday and you're playing on Wednesday night again you can forget about things fairly quickly and move on.
"We're happy with how the league went. Fellas were probably eager enough to impress in front of the new management, so when you got your chance you probably felt you kind of had to take it so everyone was really focused in the league and wanting to put in good performances and stuff like that. We were happy really with how it went, for the most part anyway."
And pointing to the fast start Cork made in last year's Munster decider, O'Shea insists that Kerry can't afford to take the Rebels for granted.
"They showed last year in the start of the game how dangerous they can be, so we're well aware of the danger they can pose to us so we have to be at the top of our game.
"Last year I suppose they did get a great start on us, but thankfully then we played quite well after that so as we know this year if they get that good start again this year it could be too late for us.
"So we'll probably focus on trying to get a better start and continue on from that then."