CORK ladies football captain, Doireann O’Sullivan, is hopeful that the inter-county season will be played out and that at some point that she can defend the Munster and All-Ireland club titles she won with Mourneabbey last season.
Doireann also said that the lockdown and lack of games for a prolonged period made players realise just how important they are to them and how much playing for club and county means.
“Lockdown taught us a lot about ourselves and what we like and don’t like,” said Doireann.
“A huge message that has come back from the girls and from management since we have gone back training in how much we love playing football and how happy and grateful we are to be back playing at the highest level.
“Sometimes maybe, we took it for granted and one good thing that has come out of this pandemic is we realise just how much it matters to us. Football is a huge thing for all of us and the intensity and aggression in training has been incredible.
“Our group games against Kerry and Cavan are going to be like that, intense and aggressive and we need to prepare in that way for them.
“That level in training is making competition for places that much harder and with those games not that far away it needs to be that way.
“We know we can’t just turn it on for the game so that intensity needs to be there in training. We have a panel of about 30 and we will be looking for 20 on the day and 15 to start and the hunger to start is really pushing everyone in training.”
Doireann’s last competitive game was the county final with Mourneabbey against West Cork and afterwards she had to be taken to hospital to be checked out, but confirmed she is fully fit again.
“I had a viral infection for the county final and was struggling a small bit during the game and I kind of copped it in the warm-up as my energy levels weren’t where they should have been.
“I struggled through the game and at the final whistle adrenalin stopped and I just had no energy and hit the deck and ended up going to hospital. Obviously we were hugely disappointed to lose the final, but for me my health had to take priority.
“But I am fully fit now, just needed to rest for a few days and I am feeling 100% now again and looking forward to the championship.
“From a club perspective we have a Munster and All-Ireland title to defend and we don’t take those titles lightly and don’t want to hand them over easily and would love the opportunity to defend them.
“The club has taken a break from training for now as it looks likely it might be early next year before those games happen and I hope they do.
“From an inter-county viewpoint preparations for our upcoming games have been going well. We have heard of other counties who had to stop training after girls had tested positive but we have been lucky in that sense.
“We did have to cancel training one evening but other than that we’ve had no interruptions thankfully.
“You’re marking a different girl in those games so it is helping to bring a competitive edge to the sessions. We are looking at them as matches and one where you get the chance to try and nail down a spot in the starting 15.
“I was talking to one of the girls at training and for the first year ever we don’t really know what to expect, It’s going to be an extremely unpredictable championship.
“We are preparing for Kerry and Cavan games and we really don’t know what to expect from them. We have no video analysis to go off and anything we look at will be based on last year.
“But they have new players, new tactics and new management, so we really don’t know what to expect. But with that it could be the best championship yet in ladies football and girls are just really excited to get out and play.
“We are lucky as Kerry and Cavan will play before we are out so it will give us a chance to have a look at them and see what they are about. But as I said all are just really looking forward to getting out and playing and hopefully we will get the chance to do so,” concluded Doireann.