The joker, the businessman and the bore. Inside the four white lines, there isn’t a whole pile to separate the O’Driscoll brothers.
Kevin could be considered the ‘late bloomer’ of the three, but such has been his rise through the pecking order of the Cork football squad since making his championship debut this time 12 months ago he’s as much assured of a starting berth for this Sunday’s Munster semi-final as older brother Colm or younger brother Brian.
Outside the four white lines, explains Kevin, they couldn’t be more different.
22-year old Brian, the comedian of the bunch who was just 20 when lining out for Cork in his first championship fixture, is a student at UCC where he begins his final year in September; 26-year old Kevin finished his final round of accountancy exams last September and is currently working with Deloitte in Cork City; Colm, who turned 28 yesterday, is the oldest of the three and runs An Muileann gym in Drimoleague which opened its doors earlier this year.
Chalk, cheese, and.....
“Brian is probably known as the clown, the joker of the family, and probably within the panel too,” says Kevin, before admitting: “I’m probably known as the boring one. Colm, then, is the quietest of the three. We all get on fine.” And as for their relationship inside the four white lines.
“I take it you want the PG answer,” he laughs.
“There is huge competition on the pitch, but in a good way. We drive each other on. None of us are afraid to give the other pointers or give a poke if a poke needs to be given. That has only helped us, the extra competition between ourselves. Hopefully, it leads to a bit more intensity on the pitch from the three of us.”
In an interview with GAA.ie last year, Brian cited the influence wielded by dad Gene on his growth as a footballer. O’Donovan Rossa’s 1993 All-Ireland winning player/coach was a selector during Brian Cuthbert’s term in charge and the youngest of the three revealed it was his father, over his two brothers, that he’d turn to when seeking counsel.
“He had a massive influence on us,” continues Kevin. “He coached at underage and always brought us to and from games.
“That is not forgetting the mother either. She wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t get in a mention of her. She was just as important as he was in the background.
“Football is something we grew up with in the house loving. It is something dad was involved with and something we have been involved with from a very young age. Look, we love it. There is a bit of craic at home too with regard to competition for places. Football is always the topic of conversation.”
Kevin is the odd one out in that he never played minor championship football for Cork and while he was part of the all-conquering U21 team in 2009, it was Colm who stole the headlines when netting deep in injury time to rescue victory for Cork. “Colm got the late goal against Down. He always has that over us, but we won’t complain. He got us the medal.”
Colm and Brian made their championship debuts in 2014 and with Kevin joining the fold the spring following, all three started Cork’schampionship opener against Clare at Páirc Uí Rinn last June. Colm was dropped for the subsequent Munster final, but did see action in theclosing minutes.
“It was massive for all three of us to be involved in a Munster final. Munster finals are a huge occasion for any family, whether you are just a Cork supporter or if you have someone involved. To have three involved is obviously a very big occasion. It was a huge honour for the family. That is looking backwards, though. Last year was very disappointing. We just want to get back there again this year. Tipperary is our sole focus to do that.
“I was there in the stand in 2014 when Cork played Tipp. You know what you are going to get from Tipperary. It is going to be dogged, it is going to be a tough, physical championship game. That is what we got that day. We were very lucky to claw over the line. Aidan Walsh kicked some massive scores at the end to get us there. We are going to get the exact same in Thurles on Sunday. They are going to come with that intensity so all we can do is prepare for it.”
Munster SFC semi-final
Tipperary v Cork
Sunday: Semple Stadium, Thurles (3.30pm)
Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon
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