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O'Sullivan: Kerry ready to repel Rebels

Declan OSullivan - Kerry

By Michael Moynihan
DECLAN O'SULLIVAN was looking forward this week, not back.

He led his Kerry teammates to the brink of glory last September, only for Tyrone to intervene on All-Ireland final day. An outside observer might view Kerry's defeats in the McGrath Cup final and their opening NFL game against Mayo were evidence of a hangover, but the Dromid Pearses man says there'll be no problem motivating his teammates for tonight's game.

Then again, they are playing Cork.

"There'll be no problem getting lads up for the game," says O'Sullivan. "There never is for a Cork-Kerry game."

The Kingdom need to get back on track fast. Tight games against Mayo usually follow a time-honoured script, but the Connacht men improvised a one-point win last Saturday in Tralee. O'Sullivan agrees Kerry need to get going but is refusing to panic.

"At this stage we're going out to win every game, but obviously losing the McGrath Cup final and the game against Mayo last week wasn't part of the plan. We just have to knuckle down now and cut out the mistakes.

"I wouldn't write our season off if we have two losses early on in the league. Everyone can see just how competitive the league is this year, the results show that, and even if it wouldn't be ideal to start off your league campaign with two defeats, we won't let that affect the rest of our season."

For the season to last into summer, Kerry need forwards to share the scoring load with Colm Cooper. Dara Ó Cinnéide's retirement means one such option is out of the picture, but O'Sullivan welcomes the new blood being introduced by the selectors.

"The management have decided to try some new players, and they used the McGrath Cup to give some of them a run. In fairness to the younger lads, they've done well in both training and matches, they've very promising.

"Losing the likes of Dara Ó Cinnéide leaves a gap in terms of experience alright, but when it comes to getting a team together you have to have a balance - you can't just throw in a load of young fellas and expect them to do well. It's up to all of us who are there for a couple of years to show leadership and help out the newer players on the panel."

Some aspects of life on the senior team take more getting used to than others.

"I don't think playing under floodlights is a factor," admits O'Sullivan.

"We're probably lucky in that we get to use Austin Stacks, which is under lights. It might be more of an issue for goalkeepers, trying to judge the flight of the ball coming in under the lights, but I don't think it's really an issue for the outfield players.

"It's probably more of a challenge to prepare for an 8pm throw-in, which is obviously not something you'd be used to at inter-county level. You've got to eat that bit later, and when games are on Sunday afternoons, you're able to rest or sleep for an hour or two beforehand. At least this game is on a Saturday evening, so most fellas will be able to get an hour or two's sleep beforehand so they're ready for the game."

Kerry will be ready for the game, but are they ready for the season? It's hard to return from an All-Ireland final defeat but their captain says they're ready.

"We had a good break coming up to Christmas and a nice holiday, and now we're back. Training is going well and our fitness is good, but the most important thing is the next game for us - we're not looking past getting a win and two points from tonight's game."

The Cork management have suffered a major blow in advance of tonight's crucial NFL clash with the news star defender Anthony Lynch is ruled out.

The Naobh Abán clubman suffered a shoulder injury during the course of last Sunday's league opener with Offaly and, although named in the side to face the Kingdom, he will not play. His absence is another setback for Billy Morgan and his selectors, with Lynch joining Nicholas Murphy, John Hayes and the entire Nemo Rangers contingent on the absentee list.

CORK: A Quirke; K O'Connor, G Canty, AN Other; N O'Leary, G Spillane, S Levis; D Hurley, M Shields; F Gould, C McCarthy, K McMahon; J Hayes, B J O'Sullivan, K O'Sullivan.

KERRY: D Murphy, M Ó Sé, M McCarthy, T O'Sullivan, T Ó Sé, A O'Mahony, M Lyons, D Ó Sé, K Donaghy, Darren O'Sullivan, E Fitzmaurice, E Brosnan, MF Russell, Declan O'Sullivan, P O'Connor.

 

O'Sullivan: Kerry ready to repel Rebels

Declan OSullivan - Kerry

By Michael Moynihan
DECLAN O'SULLIVAN was looking forward this week, not back.

He led his Kerry teammates to the brink of glory last September, only for Tyrone to intervene on All-Ireland final day. An outside observer might view Kerry's defeats in the McGrath Cup final and their opening NFL game against Mayo were evidence of a hangover, but the Dromid Pearses man says there'll be no problem motivating his teammates for tonight's game.

Then again, they are playing Cork.

"There'll be no problem getting lads up for the game," says O'Sullivan. "There never is for a Cork-Kerry game."

The Kingdom need to get back on track fast. Tight games against Mayo usually follow a time-honoured script, but the Connacht men improvised a one-point win last Saturday in Tralee. O'Sullivan agrees Kerry need to get going but is refusing to panic.

"At this stage we're going out to win every game, but obviously losing the McGrath Cup final and the game against Mayo last week wasn't part of the plan. We just have to knuckle down now and cut out the mistakes.

"I wouldn't write our season off if we have two losses early on in the league. Everyone can see just how competitive the league is this year, the results show that, and even if it wouldn't be ideal to start off your league campaign with two defeats, we won't let that affect the rest of our season."

For the season to last into summer, Kerry need forwards to share the scoring load with Colm Cooper. Dara Ó Cinnéide's retirement means one such option is out of the picture, but O'Sullivan welcomes the new blood being introduced by the selectors.

"The management have decided to try some new players, and they used the McGrath Cup to give some of them a run. In fairness to the younger lads, they've done well in both training and matches, they've very promising.

"Losing the likes of Dara Ó Cinnéide leaves a gap in terms of experience alright, but when it comes to getting a team together you have to have a balance - you can't just throw in a load of young fellas and expect them to do well. It's up to all of us who are there for a couple of years to show leadership and help out the newer players on the panel."

Some aspects of life on the senior team take more getting used to than others.

"I don't think playing under floodlights is a factor," admits O'Sullivan.

"We're probably lucky in that we get to use Austin Stacks, which is under lights. It might be more of an issue for goalkeepers, trying to judge the flight of the ball coming in under the lights, but I don't think it's really an issue for the outfield players.

"It's probably more of a challenge to prepare for an 8pm throw-in, which is obviously not something you'd be used to at inter-county level. You've got to eat that bit later, and when games are on Sunday afternoons, you're able to rest or sleep for an hour or two beforehand. At least this game is on a Saturday evening, so most fellas will be able to get an hour or two's sleep beforehand so they're ready for the game."

Kerry will be ready for the game, but are they ready for the season? It's hard to return from an All-Ireland final defeat but their captain says they're ready.

"We had a good break coming up to Christmas and a nice holiday, and now we're back. Training is going well and our fitness is good, but the most important thing is the next game for us - we're not looking past getting a win and two points from tonight's game."

The Cork management have suffered a major blow in advance of tonight's crucial NFL clash with the news star defender Anthony Lynch is ruled out.

The Naobh Abán clubman suffered a shoulder injury during the course of last Sunday's league opener with Offaly and, although named in the side to face the Kingdom, he will not play. His absence is another setback for Billy Morgan and his selectors, with Lynch joining Nicholas Murphy, John Hayes and the entire Nemo Rangers contingent on the absentee list.

CORK: A Quirke; K O'Connor, G Canty, AN Other; N O'Leary, G Spillane, S Levis; D Hurley, M Shields; F Gould, C McCarthy, K McMahon; J Hayes, B J O'Sullivan, K O'Sullivan.

KERRY: D Murphy, M Ó Sé, M McCarthy, T O'Sullivan, T Ó Sé, A O'Mahony, M Lyons, D Ó Sé, K Donaghy, Darren O'Sullivan, E Fitzmaurice, E Brosnan, MF Russell, Declan O'Sullivan, P O'Connor.