O’Sullivan rallies Kingdom to take the final step

When William O’Sullivan took over the Kerry ladies, things couldn’t be worse. It was spring 2010, after a disastrous league campaign that saw them being relegated to Division 2, and the mood was poor.

“It was more a holding job when we first took over and three semi-finals later, to finally make it to an All-Ireland final is a fantastic achievement for the girls,” he said.

“It’s something the girls dream about and as a management team, we are no different, the delight is equally there as well.”

The secret for their resurgence? O’Sullivan puts little faith in the league.

“We don’t have a panel that we can go out and win a league and then be successful in the championship.

“We just do not have the players to do that. Monaghan were training since last September, blew Cork away in the league but collapsed when it mattered in the championship. Down through the years it has been the same and we have seen it in the men’s game as well, teams doing well in the championship on the back of poor league form.

“So we decided that we would try and blood new players in the league this year, we did not train as hard as we could, training only one night a week in the spring, but when it came to the championship, we decided that we would turn the heat up and go for it.”

Beating a Cora Staunton-led Mayo side earlier in the year was the watershed game for his side.

“We met in a hotel in Limerick on the way back from that game and I told the girls that we were going to make changes and that we were not going to tolerate what we saw today.

“It was time for change. We were getting too predictable in our play, because in that league semi-final, Mayo just put a line of players across the middle and stopped us playing.”

And it worked. They thrived on the qualifier route and O’Sullivan has left no stone unturned for this final, even going to Dublin for the All-Ireland camogie decider two weeks ago.

“It provided exactly the same crowd and decibel levels as the girls will be playing in on Sunday. We stayed overnight and did a training session so we did exactly what we will do before Sunday’s game.

“I got the girls to focus on things like the amount of time they had to warm up, when the teams come out and got them to focus on the occasion and the hype. So now they know what it’s all about and hopefully, they will be able to focus on the game on Sunday.”

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