‘A Year of Learning the Hard Way to Stand Massively’

Even with eight All-Ireland medals tucked away, Ciara O’Sullivan for freshman lessons with Meath last year’s championship.

Cork is ‘panicked’, first of all, according to the Mourneabbey attacker, and it’s something he’s not trying to do this year.

That’s why she was so impressed with the final 10 minutes of last weekend’s championship opener against Donegal.

Cork’s 10-point half-time lead had been cut to three and, given how many Meath picked up their pockets late last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, Deja Vu was strong but they rallied this time and won by five.

“If something goes wrong and you concede a ball, it’s about the next ball and just doing the simple things right,” O’Sullivan said. “We kind of did that against meath, we panicked, and that comes with experience. Well, we have a year of learning the hard way. We’re like, we’ve got more experience and even more.” In that Donegal game, we were well up, they brought it back down to three and then we got kicked out and it was another goal that we didn’t do last year. “

The other big lesson O’Sullivan has learned from that loss is that football isn’t everything. She was diagnosed with a serious shoulder injury early in the game and had been taken to a nearby Maternity Hospital where a bone fracture and grade three ligament tear was diagnosed. The news came through that she was there when Meath had staged their smash and grab raid and eventually won, asking O’Sullivan to tears.

“For me, with hindsight now, it’s ridiculous to be upset about it. It’s a hospital where people have real issues and real problems,” she acknowledged. “At the time I was bawling in the hospital, not about the shoulder but about the loss. When you put it into perspective, you are in a place like a hospital. Those people have real problems, not just a sporting one.”

O’Sullivan helped Mourneabbey return to the All-Ireland decider before wintering over to the National League to allow her to shoulder. She’s back now and recently got medics from a final all clear. Cork will be guaranteed an All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Dublin or Mayo if they beat Waterford tomorrow afternoon.

“We’re not looking forward to this weekend. We’re not going to be in trouble if we can beat the Waterford based on the score difference and stuff like that.”

* Ciara O’Sullivan is part of SuperValu’s #CommunityIncludesEveryone campaign. SuperValu are proud partners of the Cork Ladies’ Football team


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