Bríd O’Sullivan says Mourneabbey will never give up the battle

Despite suffering two successive All-Ireland club football final defeats, captain Bríd O’Sullivan never had any doubt that Mourneabbey would go again in 2016.
Bríd O’Sullivan says Mourneabbey will never give up the battle

Twice they had led, and twice they were defeated, but the Clyda side have produced yet another encore.

Tonight O’Sullivan finds herself in a third consecutive Cork Ladies Football Senior Championship final against St Val’s (CIT, 5pm), while tomorrow she’ll line out for Mallow in the Cork Camogie Senior B Championship semi-final against Éire Óg (Castle Road, 4.30pm).

It’s not ideal, but it’s where she wants to be after last December’s heartache in the All-Ireland club football final against Donaghmoyne of Monaghan.

And, despite what you’d think, getting back to business was never in doubt, says O’Sullivan.

“There was never any question of us not going back. If we weren’t playing with Mourneabbey we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. It’s our routine and we don’t know any different.

“We left things off until March and we worked our way into this year slowly. When we did come back, we weren’t even thinking of reaching an All-Ireland final, it’s just a case of getting through Cork first because you’re kidding yourself thinking otherwise, and we’re still not there yet.

“Anyone who saw the first round drawn game will know that there’s nothing between us. Getting over St Val’s is the only thing on our minds.”

Living in Dublin and teaching PE at St Mary’s College in Naas, the 23-year-old commutes regularly to Cork for both club and county training, and although the journey is a solo one, it’s bearable. “Well, when Aine Terry O’Sullivan put it to me one night at Cork training that it was a two-hour drive from Allihies to UCC, I stopped complaining fairly fast,” O’Sullivan laughs.

No relation to the famous O’Sullivan sisters - Roisin, Ciara, Doireann and Maebh - the Mourneabbey captain has won almost every honour in intercounty football while in 2013 O’Sullivan captained Cork to U21 glory against Galway.

This time out she’ll skipper a Mourneabbey side bidding to win the John Hurley Cup for the third year in-a-row, and although she had her doubts when approached by coach Shane Ronayane and manager Dominic Gallagher with the proposition, her fears have since dissipated.

“I was worried at the start that I was a bit too young for the job, but we have a young panel in general and all the girls seemed happy with it. Following in Roisín’s (O’Sullivan) footsteps is hard, but I’m honoured.”

With a replay against St Val’s deciding last year’s title, and a draw against the same opponents in the first round of this year’s championship, then this evening’s showdown (CIT, 5pm) will have it all, including a number of the All-Ireland-winning Cork team in action.

Despite the result however, O’Sullivan will have to refocus again for tomorrow’s Cork Camogie Senior B Championship semi-final against Eire Og. She’ll lineout with Mallow alongside her Mourneabbey teammates, sisters Kathyrn and Emma Coakley — the latter of whom she’s best friends with since a toddler.

And, it’s that closeness and unity that Mourneabbey will have to tap into if they’re to surpass Conor Condon’s St Val’s, a side licking their wounds after two seasons of narrow defeat.

MOURNEABBEY:

M O’Sullivan; E Harrington CA Stack, A O’Callaghan; E Coakley, R O’Sullivan, E Meaney; M O’Callaghan, A O’Sullivan; K Coakley, B O’Sullivan (C), E Jack; C O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, S O’Callaghan.

ST VAL’S:

M O’Sullivan; E Coakley, C Ambrose, C Hughes; M Ambrose, S Cotter, F Dunne; V Foley, B Corkery; M Corkery, L Coughlan, N Dennehy; C Byrne, C McCarthy, C Creedon.

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