Colm O’Driscoll: Self-belief slowly returning

As a man who runs his own business, it’s hardly surprising to hear Colm O’Driscoll talk money, banks, and healthy account balances.

On this occasion, though, the eldest of the three O’Driscoll brothers on the Cork football team isn’t making reference to his gym, An Muileann, which opened its doors in Drimoleague earlier this year.

No, O’Driscoll is instead likening the confidence in the Cork set-up to your standard bank account; terribly bleak after the shock defeat to Tipperary in early June, but looking somewhat more promising after the wins over Limerick and Longford on the road.

“Confidence is like putting money in the bank, you build slowly,” says the 28-year-old.

“When you start a bank account, it is always fairly empty. Ours certainly was after the Tipperary defeat. There is a great bunch of lads there, though. We all decided we were going to start from the bottom after that and build up. Everybody has bought into it and that is what has happened.

“We took a certain amount of confidence from the Limerick game. With the second win against Longford, we took another little bit.

"A win will always give you confidence and the manner in which we came back in the second-half would give you confidence. Things are going well in training and guys are drawing confidence from that too.”

Confidence will certainly be required when 14 Donegal jerseys block his and his team-mates path into the opposition scoring area this Saturday evening at Croke Park.

Patience too, says the corner-back. Tyrone were limited to just four points in the first-half of their Ulster final meeting with Rory Gallagher’s side, but rewarded for their determination to stay the course upon the change of ends.

“When you’re playing against a packed defence such as theirs and, when you look up and see all the bodies around you, patience is needed.

“Donegal have a system and a very good system at that. It can be very difficult to play against. The management will have looked at it and we will have our game-plan in place. All we can do is implement it as best we can.

“I was playing against them in Ballybofey earlier this year in the league and that was one of our poorer performances. It is a difficult place to go, but that’s no excuse. We didn’t play well. We were turned over too easily. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen the next day.

“What you take from a game like that is you have got to be at your best to beat the top teams in the country. We have been preparing well and building slowly from a poor start.

"We know that Donegal is going to be a massive test for us. We realise ourselves that there is going to be a big improvement needed from our last two games. We are building towards that and we are going in the right direction.”

O’Driscoll’s brother Kevin is one of a number of players on the panel never to have played championship at GAA HQ; Peter Kelleher, Ryan Price, Seán Powter, Stephen Cronin and Ruairi Deane are also in the same boat. Colm doesn’t believe stage fright will be an issue this weekend.

“Every guy growing up wants to play in Croke Park. It is a completely different venue to anything you’d experience anywhere else, but I think guys look forward to playing there. You would be telling them to not get swallowed up by the whole occasion and to enjoy it.”

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