BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021
Advertisement

What would you do to win an All-Ireland? Cork captain played final with a damaged cruciate

“Everybody would do anything they could to play in an All-Ireland final,” says Ciara O’Sullivan. “I was just lucky.”

Ciara O'Sullivan captained Cork to the All-Ireland in 2015. Can she do it again on Sunday against the Dubs?
Ciara O'Sullivan captained Cork to the All-Ireland in 2015. Can she do it again on Sunday against the Dubs?
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WHEN CORK WON the 2012 TG4 All-Ireland ladies senior football final against fierce rivals Kerry, Ciara O’Sullivan played despite nursing cruciate knee ligament damage.

Tomorrow she’ll hope to lift the Brendan Martin Cup for a second successive year as captain, as Cork go in search of the six-in-a-row.

Four years ago, O’Sullivan suffered the dreaded injury for the second time in her career.

It first happened during the 2010 quarter-final defeat against Tyrone before she suffered a recurrence in the same knee two years later.

But remarkably, O’Sullivan lasted for 57 minutes of the 2012 decider, before being replaced by Annie Walsh.

A six-week gap between semi-final and final allowed O’Sullivan to strengthen the knee with gym work to a strong enough level where it would hold tough. Following victory over the Kingdom, she then went for surgery.

The Mourneabbey star remembers: “I was probably lucky because a lot of it does definitely come down to luck, whether it will hold up or not.

“We were very lucky in 2012 – it was a draw between Galway and Kilkenny in the hurling so our final got pushed back a week.

I think everybody was complaining but I was nearly having a party because it meant I had another week of rehab.

“So it was just a case of going to the gym three days a week and hoping it would hold out after that. Thankfully it did.”

But there were moments when O’Sullivan wondered if she would make it.

She smiles: “There was one day after I tore it when I was in the gym in the Mardyke.

“I remember being on a bike beside a lady who was probably 60 and she was going about ten times faster than me.

“At that point you are probably thinking you are not going to be playing.

“But it improved an awful lot in a week and once the swelling went down, I was able to get running and stuff again.

Everybody would do anything they could to play in an All-Ireland final and I was just lucky.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

O’Sullivan played without the aid of painkillers and Cork ran out nine-point winners over Kerry.

That was O’Sullivan’s fourth experience of an All-Ireland senior final and she’s now preparing for an eighth.

Her seven previous wins were achieved under the tutelage of revered former manager Eamonn Ryan but there’s a new man at the helm this year, Ephie Fitzgerald.

And O’Sullivan insists that the transition between both eras has been pretty much seamless, following some natural, early teething problems.

She says: “I suppose you’d always have concerns but I think in some ways it took a bit of pressure off us in terms of people saying maybe we wouldn’t get as far this year because of having new management and stuff.

“So the expectation was relatively low I suppose, so it was good in that respect.

And as far as a seamless transition can occur I think we have been lucky in that we set out to be in Croke Park in September and we are here so we can’t have any complaints.

“You would definitely become familiar and different managers have different ways of doing things but Ephie didn’t come in and try to change everything.

“He tweaked little things. We would have had a strength and conditioning coach (Mike Carroll) for the first time this year but that would be the main change.

“Other than that it has been the same as normal in most regards.”

The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

Juggling medicine and sport between Beaumount Hospital and the Dublin ladies footballers

The day the Dublin Ladies turned the screw

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS (1)