Limerick football boss to coach rugby players

Limerick football manager Mickey Ned O'Sullivan flies out to South Africa next week to educate some of the country's leading rugby coaches in the art of high ball catching.

Limerick football manager Mickey Ned O'Sullivan flies out to South Africa next week to educate some of the country's leading rugby coaches in the art of high ball catching.

O'Sullivan, recommended by former Ireland full-back Conor O'Shea and invited over by the South African Rugby Union, is to advise Super 14 clubs in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

O'Shea, whose father Jerome won three All-Ireland medals with Kerry, is the current director of the English Rugby Football Union's College of Excellence.

O'Sullivan said: "I will be talking to both skill coaches and conditioning coaches, and hopefully my input will help to improve the players' catching of the high ball.

"The South African officials have seen Gaelic football, so they are aware of the high-catching skills in the game. The fielding of a high ball after a garryowen is a very important element of rugby.

"Also, it would be a huge plus for a winger, if, following a cross-field kick by the out-half, he could catch the ball at a high, rather than waist level. That would give him an all-important extra second to get away from a tackler," he told the Limerick Leader.

Kerryman O'Sullivan's competitive reign as Limerick boss begins on Sunday, January 15 with a McGrath Cup tie against Waterford IT.

O'Sullivan's backroom team for 2006 includes selectors Moss McCarthy and Joe Redington, team trainer Cian O'Neill of the University of Limerick PE department, team doctor Mick Lucey and physio Mark van Drumm.

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