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One Life One Job

Darran O'Sullivan has given up his day job to concentrate on Kerry full-time

“I can’t keep taking it for granted, saying I’m Superman, and taking the knocks.”

Updated at 8am

KERRY FOOTBALLER DARRAN O’Sullivan has revealed that he has given up the day job to focus on helping the Kingdom to retain their All-Ireland crown.

The Allstar forward was plagued by injury last season and watched the bulk of Kerry’s 37th All-Ireland win from the sideline and the stands.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side will have to do without him again on Sunday when they open their Division 1 league campaign at home to Mayo in Killarney.

Wisely, given his recent record, O’Sullivan is taking a cautious approach and expects to sit out the first few rounds of matches before making his return.

There’s one big difference this year, however. In November, he left his day job with Ulster Bank “to concentrate on keeping the body right.”

For all intents and purposes, he’s now a full-time Gaelic footballer.

He said: “There are still a few small issues that were bothering me last year. I need to get them right. I’’m being a bit extra cautious this year and don’’t want to make the same mistakes.

“I played on with the club [Glenbeigh-Glencar] when I should have taken a break. So I’’m taking a full break now and in rehab mode, trying to strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, quads, everything.”

Darran O'Sullivan pulls up with an injury O'Sullivan pulled up with a hamstring injury against Cork on his return from hip surgery. Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Hip surgery ruled O’Sullivan out of the beginning of the 2014 campaign and when he did return to face Cork in the league, he only lasted a few minutes before he was forced off with a hamstring tear.

“After the hip operation I was told four to six months, but the doctor later told me it’s actually a year, because of all the niggles, and I actually found that out the hard way.

I went from doing nothing, to over-doing it, and the body just kept breaking down, stupidly on my behalf.

O’Sullivan was speaking yesterday as an ambassador for the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme, a secondary school initiative that uses sport to promote life skills. Since leaving Ulster Bank, it’s been his only diversion from football.

Joey Boland, Jessie Barr, Darran O'Sullivan, Aoife McDermot, Katie Taylor, Shaun Berne, Karl Lacey and Christy Toye O'Sullivan, third from left, at Tuesday's Sky Sports event. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

“[It's] great for the mind to be honest, just meeting kids and having the chats. It’’s keeping me kind of sane too because you’’d get bored only doing the same thing.

“But other than that I’m just working on the body.

“It just wasn’’t suiting me,” he says of the decision to quit his job.

I was there seven years, had a great time, and learned a lot, but I just couldn’’t see my future there, and it just wasn”t ideal for getting my body right. I knew I needed to focus more time on it, to rehab, and this is the extra bit.

Some people are far more adept at juggling life as an inter-country player and life outside the game, O’Sullivan admits, but at 28 he took the decision which he felt would maximise his time on the pitch — and his shot at more Celtic Crosses.

“You find a way, and so far I’’m finding a way. Once I get the body right, and get back playing, it will make a big difference personally. Last year I found it hard. I was torture for the family, torture for the girlfriend, was moody, and fed up a lot.

“Mentally, that was draining, and I was going into work and not getting a great kick out of it I enjoyed the people I was working with but there was no challenge in it for me. I just felt if I kept doing it over again I’’d crack.

“I needed to make the change, have more time for the training, and the new job with Sky has given me a bit of time.

But at the moment I’’m just focused on getting the body right. I can’t keep taking it for granted, saying I’’m Superman, and taking the knocks.

“I had to change bits and pieces, not just what I eat but not sitting down too long. Even driving home these days I have to get out of the car for a stretch. So that’’s me at the side of the road with my rope, doing my stretching!”

Sky Sports Living for Sport, part of Sky Academy, announces 12 new Athlete Mentors with Ambassador Katie Taylor. To find out more and to get involved, visit

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