After filling roles with the Limerick senior footballers, they have returned to their native counties with Fitzgerald in charge of the Cork minors and O’Sullivan at the helm of the Kerry minors. Tonight they set out on the championship road as the first round of the Munster MFC takes place at 7pm with Cork travelling to play Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds and Kerry entertain Tipperary in Austin Stack Park.
“It’s been very enjoyable,” said Fitzgerald.
“You’re working with a great bunch of fellas and I’ve great selectors around me as well. The commitment of the players is unreal. We have a lot doing the Leaving Cert and also some based in West Cork have to travel long distances.
“It’s been difficult to get them together as they have so many other commitments between club and schools level.
“But the schools football has been good for looking at players. I’ve been helping Chríost Rí over the last couple years and that’s been helpful in getting to know players at that grade. We’re travelling into the unknown tonight though as you can never tell with minors how they will react.”
Kerry have the benefit of home advantage for their clash this evening but still face a huge test against a Tipperary side that parades 10 players that featured in last September’s All-Ireland minor triumph.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game,” stated O’Sullivan. “It’s unprecedented for a minor game between Kerry and Tipperary for two reasons really. Firstly Tipperary are the favourites entering the game and secondly it’s highly unusual to have so many All-Ireland winners in a minor team.
“Usually a team that wins the All-Ireland minor is filled with players on the age but Tipperary have a lot of last year’s team back. That’s a great boost for them and obviously shows the work being done in Tipperary. We’ve worked hard and I’m pleased with the commitment of our players but this is a step up and we must see how they respond to the pressure that they will be placed under.”
Elsewhere in the competition tonight, Clare face Waterford in Cusack Park in Ennis at 6.45pm.
CORK MF: M Martin (Nemo Rangers); S O’Leary (Iveleary), T O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), S Cronin (Nemo Rangers); K Crowley (Millstreet), C Hyde (Naomh Aban), J Davis (Douglas); P Fitzgerald (Douglas), A O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers); S T O’Sullivan (Garnish), C Vaughan (Iveleary), B O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh); K McIntyre (Carrigaline), K O’Connor (Mallow), C Horgan (Nemo Rangers).
LIMERICK MF: J O’Meara (Fr Casey’s); D Greaney (Athea), M O’Connor (Athea), K Meade (St Kieran’s); P White (St Mary’s/Sean Finns), S Cahill (Mountcollins), S Barrett (Kilmallock); D Condron (Granagh-Ballingarry), R Burke (Adare); S O’Dea (Kilteely-Dromkeen), D Daly (Fr Casey’s), R McKenna (Na Piarsaigh); J Frawley (Mungret), D O’Donovan (Oola), E O’Donnell (St Mary’s/Sean Finns).
KERRY MF: S Cahillane (Keel); C Ó Luing (An Ghaeltacht), G Crowley (Templenoe), S O’Connor (John Mitchels); B Crowley (Templenoe), R Murphy (Beaufort), G Horan (Austin Stacks); E Doyle (Ballyduff), G O’Sullivan (Listry); S Moloney (John Mitchels), D Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), É Ó Conchúir (An Ghaeltacht); N Sheehy (John Mitchels), D Daly (St Marys), C Keane (Legion).
TIPPERARY MF: E Comerford (Clonmel Commercials); T O’Donoghue (Lattin-Cullen), J Feehan (Killenaule), L Egan (Loughmore-Castleiney); K Fahey (Clonmel Commercials), D Fitzelle (Cashel King Cormacs), B Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash); S O’Brien (Ballina), J McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney); J Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials), I Fahey (Clonmel Commercials), G Henry (Killenaule); J Shelly (Mullinahone), P Quirke (Moyle Rovers), C Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials).
CLARE MF: L Corbett (Corofin); F Pyne (Killimer), S Garry (Cooraclare), J Brown (Kilrush); C McNelis (Clondegad), C Murray (Kilrush), M Bohannon (Shannon Gaels); J Malone (Corofin), E Hanrahan (St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield); S Corry (Éire Óg), N Deasy (Ballyea), T Lynch (Ballyea); B Lynch (Lissycasey), E Cleary (St Joseph’s Milltown-Malbay), C Cleary (St Joseph’s Milltown-Malbay).