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Diarmuid O'Sullivan: 'It's tough when your own turn on you, start to throw snide remarks, digs'

The Cork hurling great was speaking on OTB AM today.

Diarmuid O'Sullivan with Kieran Kingston.
Diarmuid O'Sullivan with Kieran Kingston.
Image: Tom Maher/INPHO

OUTGOING CORK HURLING selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan says the criticism their management team faced over the past year from within the county was ‘tough’ to absorb.

O’Sullivan has been involved with Kieran Kingston at the helm for the last three years. It was announced on Sunday evening that Kingston would not be taking up another term in charge and Pat Ryan’s appointment as the new Cork hurling boss was confirmed on Monday night.

In a tweet on Sunday night, O’Sullivan had hit out at the scrutiny placed on the management by hurling pundits with Cork links and he elaborated on that point in an interview this morning on OTB AM.

Source: Off The Ball/YouTube

“Whatever about national media, some of the harshest scrutiny has come from people within Cork, who have worn the red jersey, people who have stood on the line doing certain roles as part of Cork setup. It’s tough when your own turn on you, start to throw snide remarks, digs. I’m thick-skinned. Some of it does concern because when it comes from your own, it’s probably hard to take. There’s reason behind everything, why people do this.

“A lot of things are driven through social media. Through that you need to find balance. There’s a number of guys in the game of hurling, look at Paul Murphy, he’s one of the most balanced guys I’ve ever seen talk about the game of hurling. To be fair Eddie Brennan similar, Jamesie O’Connor. They’re fair but judgemental at the same time.

“Kieran has worked under some of the most scrutinised conditions any inter-county manager has faced. I do believe that Cork manager’s job is still the most attractive in the country. That’s my opinion.”

O’Sullivan did not go further to identify who he was referring to when speaking about the criticism.

“Ye’re clever enough to figure out what has been going on over the last while. Our training venues are questioned. Our loyalty to senior players is questioned that we alienated them. Various, various other things. It’s a minefield, if ye want to dig into it, I’ve no doubt ye’ll find all that information for ye’re selves.

“Some of them guys if we look through it, there’s history between certain members of previous management, old management, would be involved in our backroom teams.”

diarmuid-osullivan-and-henry-shefflin-after-the-game Diarmuid O'Sullivan and Henry Shefflin after the recent Cork-Galway game. Source: Tom Maher/INPHO

A three-time All-Ireland winner as a player, O’Sullivan revealed it was felt ‘it was time for a new voice’, as Kingston opted to move on.

“It’s still a bit raw with us. We made a commitment to our squad that we’d get them back to Croke Park again this year. We fell short on our commitment. Kieran Kingston is a very honourable man. He will do everything for the group of players.

“The aftermath, okay there was the offer of another term. Kieran has given 12, 13, 14 years of his life to being a selector, manager, maor foirne, whatever you want. We just felt probably it was time for a new voice. There’s probably other reasons behind it that I’m not going to share with ye guys obviously but ultimately Kieran’s decision was for the sake of the option and that year, maybe it best placed someone come in now get a two, three-year term and start to put their own stamp on it.

“We feel we’ve left Cork hurling in a healthy position. We’ve left a very young squad behind us and I’ve no doubt with the group of players that are there, they’re more than capable of getting back up on the horse and righting them wrongs for themselves.”

He praised his former team-mate Pat Ryan who has now filled the Rebel hotseat.

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pat-ryan-celebrates-at-the-final-whistle New Cork hurling manager Pat Ryan. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“Wonderful. Pat Ryan is a brilliant, brilliant guy with a brilliant attitude. I think Pat with the group of players that we have left and the number of players that are coming behind, I think Pat and his incoming management team will have a wonderful opportunity to bring Cork hurling back to where it needs to be.

“We’ve been absolutely privileged, myself and Kieran, we’ve had five years. The privilege for us to be involved with the Cork senior hurling squad for five years, it’s hugely proud for us and our families.

“We believe we gave everything to the cause. We did everything in the right manner to bring Cork hurling forward. Myself, Kieran, Pat and Noel, not for one second did we give it any thought because we knew what we were doing on the field was the right thing.

“We can move out of the job with our heads held high over the course of the last three years. We had a dip but it was the way our performances were scrutinised, the way we played the game, the way we were tactically setup, questions were we capable of doing it. It was just a multitude and mix of things. We were big boys and we were able to block the noise out.”

- Originally published at 11.08

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Fintan O'Toole

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