After finally lifting the senior county, Éamonn Murphy sat down with Paudie O’Sullivan to discuss the highs and lows of his profession and why life hasn’t been better…
FOR rsquo Paudie O &;Sullivan it was always about the simple joy of the game.
There was projecting, earlier there was an expectation on his shoulders and decorations to be pursued, prior to the harms and the ups and downs of life for a Cork hurler. Just projecting.
The feel of the sliotar of the camán within his hands and the purity of a strike that is fresh. The sight of the ball soaring over the bar or, even better, whizzing into the internet. The touches, the flicks and the tricks; discovering ways to release or control possession.
It had been that way from the start. He came up in his front lawn in Cloyne through the school of hard knocks. There was no hiding place in Páirc Uí Shúilleabháin with hurling four older brothers young children, a sister and an protracted clan.
Coming from a little club and being so prodigious Paudie consistently played about four months. U16 in 12, U21 until he turned 15, a senior pilot final a couple of weeks shy of his 16th birthday. It wouldn’t be let players must be turning 18 the entire year they perform senior — but he more than held his own.
“At the time it was stay out of the way and nick a stage or a goal! We’d a difficult team afterward, a great team.
“You will find more fellas to mind than me, you’d Colm (his brother), Philip Cahill, Maurice (Cahill), Conor Cusack and Victor Cusack. Diarmuid (O’Sullivan) was in the backs generally.
“In games it was nothing much worse than I’d get in training. You’d begin on Deccie Motherway and that I could end up in the corner on Eoin and that he wasn&rsquo adhere a few goals!
“The major difference now is that in case you set a ball broad, where until you’d just jog into position, now you roaring at you and & rsquo ;d possess just two fellas leaping away.
That sledging. Can it be from? I don’t know.
“I never knew its point of view around the 10th that the forwards goes and because he could win the first nine balls and it’s in the back of the internet. Suddenly the back is looking into the line over his shoulder. ”
There were lots of defenders in this scenario this season. Imokilly were improbable county champions this year with rsquo & O;Sullivan spearheading their attack. His purpose pinged the hurley off, to win against the playoff from Erin’s was the season’s score. O’Sullivan and Harnedy combined for 7-40 in seven matches from play between them.
He couldn & rsquo; t jump in Doc Brown & rsquo; s DeLorean to dial it back into the mid-noughties — busted leg and his cruciate injury don’t have any doubt chased him although the instinctive genius stays.
It had been there in Imokilly’s semi-final replay win over Sars once he pulled off a ‘no appearance’ touch, quitting as if to drag the sliotar inside his marker but rather pushing it a couple of yards towards the sideline to prepare a possibility for midfielder Mark O’Keeffe.
Was a flicker to his pitching again and also the reward was that the county medal that is evasive. While a divisional victory, especially by a group that comprised Cork seniors Seamus Harnedy and Brian Lawton, plus a clutch of gamers with underage expertise, isn’t regarded as a amorous as a club triumph, it had been fairytale material for O’Sullivan.
With a November birthday that he’d dropped three county finals at the time he turned 18. And if Cloyne’s days as challengers finished they were relegated from mature.
“It doesn’t make up for this but the decoration will look exactly the same. I can still write down county champion on my CV.
“it could have unbelievable to have won with Cloyne we achieved although because we & rsquo; re from such a little place. We beat Newtown in two semi-finals, Munster champions in one of them and club champions in the other. We only lost to them but of course that was the final that everybody remembers. And Newtown was the best club team in the nation for a few decades.
“Blackrock had Piarsaigh, plenty of Cork players afterward and Erin’s were fantastic. The standard was high. We were coaching in six. We did things our way and it turned out to be a excellent time. ”
Picture: Eddie O’Hare
It’s no exaggeration to say Paudie was one of best hurlers in the nation during his teens. He landed minor titles, and captained the last Cork school, Midleton CBS to win it, to the Harty Cup.
Following slotting in there to the Rice Cup in First Year in Eamonn O & rsquo; Neill & rsquo; s proposal when they were stuck he cried at centre-back in CBS.
“I preferred playing with centre-back. You decide where to move to get involved. You’re accountable. In corner-forward especially rsquo you &;re dependentso coming your leadership. You can be restricted. ”
The Harty was raised by him but they had enough talent couldn and to keep’t get past the group stages.
“Brian Lawton, Paudie O’Shea, Aggie Kearney in Midleton, Luke (O’Farrell), (Paul) Haughney… and we have knocked out by scoring gap.
“We were in the exact same category with Templemore, Noel rsquo & McGrath;s Waterford Colleges, and group, within their very first year. We were just two things away qualifying and this was a sickener shield it and to not proceed. ”
At minor level in 2006 Cork were packed such as Colm O Patrick Horgan & rsquo; Neill, Rob White, Brian Corry and Adrian Mannix nevertheless left an behind them from Galway.
“We gave a stupid goal out however he also got. John O & rsquo; Callaghan really did a great job that I had been surprised John didn & rsquo; t get much of a look-in using the Cork seniors — but we were killed by these frees. We still have to have won. Awful. ”
Picture: Richard Mills.
Sporting highs were offered as by that year as it failed miserably, however, nothing in comparison with the nightmare of a lost season in 2007.
“I didn’t even” acknowledges rsquo O &;Sullivan. Shefflin did his after in the All-Ireland from Limerick and you’d Colm O’Neill of course, but if Tadhg O’Sullivan, who did the surgery, informed me about the cruciate I had been wondering if I’d be back playing in 2007.
“I do my Leaving, still and being young I didn & rsquo; t realise what is necessary to return from an injury like this. I presumed I’d carry on as if nothing happened and return. Your sharpness is gone and you’re down from five or scoring four points a match to a few. Before I understood it it moved from 2007 to 2010. ”
There’s no advantage from blaming anybody, but looking back he knows he must not have been engaged with this league game. He&rsquo turned 18 three weeks before and has been in his Leaving Cert. It was for championship cameos when Mark Coleman and Shane Kingston were fast-tracked in the Cork.
“I know Gerald was looking to throw in a few fresh faces in his very first year but actually I must have been told go away and you’ll participate in the summer, even though it was only to train with them rather than play.
&ldquo that afternoon in Waterford I presumed how it worked and I & rsquo ;d be just getting to know the lads.
“I won a ball which was grand and Diarmuid was straight back on. I believed ‘I’ll inform the lads that in school on Monday’, but I had been advised to keep warm to go back in correctly. Two minutes later you’re going off the field on a stretcher in Walsh Park that is boggy. ”
His comeback was anything but eloquent, even though he ended up becoming his very first championship start at a loss if he shaped a line in a selection which has been pretty much out of left field with Pa Cronin to Tipp. He fell down the pecking order through a run during the qualifiers and missed a penalty.
“rsquo & I didn;t see the area from Kilkenny, when we were about 45 points down until the past five minutes. ”
If this was demoralising the strike the winter was unnerving. The players stood firm to oust his brother Diarmuid becoming a Rebel talisman and Gerald McCarthy & rsquo management group, which was stressful in itself but complex by his father Jerry & rsquo; s standing as Cork chairman.
“I didn&rsquo. When I’d my period back again I’d’ve sat it out and stated: ‘I encourage my team-mates, I encourage my father but I want to be unbiased’.
“I had been new to the panel so that I needed to sit there. The problem was that I was only back in the cruciate and that I needed the weeks of winter coaching and we weren’t straight back before March.
“It supposed because in 2008 and 2009 I basically had five or five matches, I had two decades written off. I wasn’so that it wasn & rsquo; t always feasible for me to find my form t allowed play match or challenge games.
“until Jimmy came It put back Cork projecting for five decades. Denis Walsh did a great job too.
We maintained drawing on Tipp from the very first round. I’d 1-2 obtained against Galway after five minutes (in 2011) after which we have hammered and we were out of championship ahead of the Munster final was even played. ”
Together with his confidence the appointment of Jimmy Barry-Murphy couldn’t have been timed better. Seanie McGrath wasn’t as a selector, providing great vibes but also an All-Star forward’s viewpoint. “A fantasy to perform under as a forwards. ”
Picture: Eddie O’Hare
If you’re wondering what created JBM this inspirational director — the sort who “when he advised you to run out into the corner flag you’d simply do it and never think double” — Paudie describes it as a mix of charisma and self-belief.
“It’s not that rsquo & Jimmy wouldnhowever rsquo ;d & you never want to pack your luggage. He’d a way to pick one up.
“He might disturb you & rsquo ;d given a pass to set a goal chance up or anything. It’s difficult to describe but he had it. Some supervisors don’t have that knack and you spend much of this time worrying. ”
There has been progress in 2012 and 2013 promised more. O’Sullivan was going and had amazed as a playmaker at times from. Cork finally made it but he hadn’t even got as far as the Munster opener.
It was a time and each of : high-scoring and unpredictable with minutes of magic that is freestyle. Yet a freakish leg break destroyed his summer and nearly cost him his career.
In the event that you’re squeamish, stop reading now. The injury was traumatic but the recovery was hellish.
“By July I believed I had been making progress. I had been running up the steps in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and all.
“I’d one catch the time and that I wanted to push through it thinking, ‘I’m feeling so strong, I could find a chance to come on within rsquo & an All-Ireland nevertheless;. I kept feeling that twinge and when I moved back it turned out the smaller bone in the back, the fibula, hadn & rsquo; t healed with a six-inch gap in the bone.
“The killer is all rsquo & that;s the simpler one to heal. It must have knitted in its own time in six weeks. It had been no one’s error but it intended it more operation in November (2013) in Santry. The muscle I&rsquo was gone again.
“I picked up an infection in January. I woke up and that I couldn’t walk. My knee was on fire that is absolute. You will find two holes in my arm and there has been lots of puss around it.
“I had been brought around Deccie and I nearly kicked on the head with my leg off him if he gave me knee just a tap. I received a phone that Tuesday night and Deccie said that I’d to be in Dublin the next morning take out the pin and then to slice the knee open, it’d got infected.
“I&rsquoup there on a trickle to clean the system out. I’d six more weeks at home then up during my arm so that I could place an antibiotic directly.
“That had been half an hour, four times each day each time clean it out and to pump via the bloodstream. I ended up spending two nights in the Mercy because I allergic to an antibiotic. ”
Even as a Liverpool fan there’s only so FIFA prior to questioning his sanity, that he could play. The 2014 league was a write-off, championship could have been as well.
He spent six weeks using Deccie O’Sullivan building muscle up building. He got assistance from friends, family and work colleagues. He handled 10 moments of a club match with Cloyne and a half of a challenge match against Wexford in Nowlan Park.
JBM saw enough to send him in into a rousing reception in the Rebel faithful in Thurles during the Munster quarter-final match from the Déise. There was a hint of the American sports movie about it, he clipped over a point.
“In that Waterford match Nash hit a that I didn’t find until late. Brick Walsh, who hasn’t dropped a ball in his entire life, was out in front but ran directly on it and it fell into me. I simply turned and hit on it. ”
He struck at Uí Chaoimh to get the purpose in the final and did the same against Clare. It was a trademark end that is low, the Blackrock Terrace was a explosion before the eyes.
“The Munster final was unique. At that stage I’d been informed that I might not play again, so to be putting the ball was something that I’ll never forget. ”
After watching the All-Ireland final lawsuit the 2014 triumph over Limerick should have been the start of something. But it never happened.
Tipp taught Cork a lesson in the and order’Sullivan never got a run in the group in 2015.
“I was only getting bits and pieces. Fair enough from Kilkenny in the match I didn’t, got a stage, but I had been taken off and fell to the next match and that I couldn&rsquo.
“I got a few goals plus I had been thrown in against Galway in a end up in Salthill and believed rsquo & that I;d return beginning. I had been against Tipp on the bench, per day we threw a 12-point guide away, but I still got a goal. I believed ‘rsquo & right now I;t yet another goal felt they’ll need to start me’. ”
He had been cast in the use of super-sub, appearing in comebacks from Wexford and Dublin.
“I getting more scores but what I needed was complete games and came on. For whatever reason that never happened. Don&rsquoso fine to be arriving on and changing matches, but that only works for such a long time. Jimmy needed a word, telling me that I do great, but you may see the group taking shape.
“you’re playing club championship and everyone looking for one to score 2-8 and you could be being researched by Shane O’Neill, who’s playing together with Cork while you’re making up the numbers in the training. You receive a point or two however, also your confidence is down. ”
From the end of 2015 that he was prepared to call a halt but determined that he’d response the phone of the new management, led by Kieran Kingston, with his brother Diarmuid as a selector, and, critically, Deccie O’Sullivan elevated to trainer. When January rolled around but that he discovered himself guy at the match opener against Galway, beginning until being lost, but coming off he had been flying.
He could see the championship script already and Paudie had been gone ahead of the league was finished even if he popped up off the bench against Tipp.
“because it was my entire life it had been challenging. You’re in the bubble of hurling and everything is geared to it. By November on towards September, if you’re lucky enough to create the All-Ireland, you’re eating a biscuit thinking ‘what if we’jogging tomorrow ve hard night in the training? ’
“After seven or eight decades with little to show for this, you need to call home. The notion of performing press-ups in the mud & hellip and running with the ground rock; you have to find a reward, although I know rsquo & that; s a part of it.
“If you’re outside. I’m not a big drinker but it’s great to find a text over a Saturday day from one of those lads, Liverpool are all on the telly and you may go have two or three pints.
“I will find a weekend away with herself rsquo, when we &;ve nothing on with Cloyne. ”
He accepted an offer in west Cork indigenous Ger McCarthy to visit San Francisco in the summer of 2016 along with Stephen Moylan and Pa Cronin, a trio of Cork hurlers enjoying life. The identical afternoon Cork dropped to Wexford, that he had been in a cab heading to Venice Beach in LA..
“We had the best summer — outside of winning a Munster name — six weeks of sunshine and toured the west coast of America. It say, because if they were involved rsquo ;d & they have been beginning championship. I’d have been going in if Cork were five points down with five minutes to proceed. ”
It’s just he can completely appreciate how tough it had been trying to meet his reputation as a ‘Cork hurler’.
“rsquo & There;s rsquo; re & a freedom because you. You don&rsquo1-4 were obtained by him in his match last night so I want to find that tonight. You’ve down a battle game and you can stop in the chipper on the way home. From the conclusion of the season you’re after at least 20 games of games that are proper.
“rsquo & There;s no one going to be expression ‘I saw rsquo Paudie O &;Sullivan out there on Saturday night in Midleton’ and you’re obtaining a telephone call. All because I had been out for supper with Denise. You’re obviously not drinking but you’re think that time is it. ”
We met in Glounthane in The Elm Tree, the Monday, that he had been after winning an East Cork soccer league and becoming Person of the Match for Churchvilla within an AUL soccer triumph. A week before that he’d great craic .
They’ll be home for Christmas and that he will keep leaning away with Churchvilla and a bit of a five-a-side — despite his strength, Paudie isn’t lover of the gym and enjoys to set the hurley away instead of chilly in the alley.
He’ll reunite as Fergal Condon & rsquo again with Imokilly and Cloyne;s look.
“& rsquo; t say rsquo & there; s not any pressure was won by me, but in the exact same time if you lose there’s not the fallout. You’re not going through tactics and spare men. It was not over-complicated, although there was a couple of plans in place and man-marking. It had been moving and projecting as hard as they could.
“Imokilly permit you do your little bit and steer clear of. It turned out that I scored more than in the matches that I didn & rsquo and ever;t, others did. There’s a gap seeking to win for Imokilly opposed to: ‘triumph for Imokilly, perform well for yourself, get on the Cork group’.
“rsquo & &;;re not in the scenario where fellas are coming out saying ‘Sullivan to get Imokilly I saw Paudie O & rsquo and he didn’t puck a ball’. They’re looking at what you scored in the newspaper over a Monday afternoon, maybe not if you won 20 balls and put scores to your group up. You don&rsquo! ”
He doesn’t mind to projecting per 14, a tactical approach. He received a lot from a stint with CIT despite being pipped by UCC after time in the Mardyke if they attained the Fitzgibbon Cup in 2012.
“Pat Mulcahy was a really tactical director, however as a forward that he had been perfect on one level because it had been all about strengthening the possession in the ending, and working the ball up the area, just like they did in Newtown. There was no such thing as a blind clearance that is half-back, it had been quantified on selecting the lad in the very best position and the attention was. ”
Paudie, in keeping with how he hurls, enjoys to find players with vision character and guts. Ben O’Eoin Kelly, Joe Deane and Connor were his idols growing up.
“rsquo & Eoin;so striking, the over-the-shoulder taken if he & rsquo ;d be horizontal hitting on it, free-taking. He had that fashion.
“Ben was the best player I ever played with. Ability, team-play, cutting. Heor shersquo;d cut a ball is popped by on a fella in half as quick as he & rsquo ;d to you.
“He had been an senior participant but the staff always came first. In case you’re in a better position you were guaranteed to find the ball. When he obtained no score and seven were got by you from his hand-passes that he wouldn’t caution. It was a dream to perform with Jerry and him. I got on off the field.
“I never have to perform with Joe as much because he left in 2008 but he had been the king. What about him. Even the free-taking, the dimensions. I believe that he’s now because he retired early.
“The year they drew when the ball broke into his left hand that he got a goal. He hit it left-handed back into the top corner and ran to the diagonal.
“in the specific same position that he got the ball In the replay, left his conduct but faking to hit it. The full-back tore back him and then he tucked back and finished it on the bottom corner. Stuff like this you see as a forwards. He understood his marker would expect the same and it was as great as Damien Fitzhenry. ”
He enjoys watching John and Joe Canning and Dwyer O & rsquo; Noel McGrath, Bubbles.
“rsquo & They;re so skilful but so unselfish. No one ever appears to be catching up with them either although they & rsquo; re not in an rush. ”
There’s not any ambition to return to the fold with Cork. It’s all about the projecting and rsquo & that;s more than enough.