EDDIE O’Sullivan has been appointed as the strength and conditioning coach with the Cork minor hurlers for this season.
The Kealkil native who is the manager of the Celtic Ross Leisure Centre in Rosscarbery said he is thrilled with the opportunity to work on the inter-county circuit.
“I am delighted with my new role. It is a very exciting opportunity. I am really enjoying it so far.”
The 25-year-old has a huge passion for strength and conditioning and nutrition. He plays both football and hurling with St Colum’s but only recently returned to competitive GAA action after surgery.
“I recently returned to action with St Colum’s. I missed out on last year's action after undergoing ACL reconstruction in late 2020. This year is going to be a busy season ahead as I will be balancing work, assisting the Cork minor hurlers and playing with my club.”
The Cork minors are managed this year by former Cork senior camogie manager Paudie Murray. The selectors are Paudie’s brother Kevin, who won an All-Ireland medal with the Cork senior hurlers in 1999, Declan Fitzgerald from Buttevant who was part of the Cork U20 set-up under Pat Ryan, and Fergal McCormack, another 1999 All-Ireland winner.
O'Sullivan started his new role in late December 2021 and is keen to learn and gain as much knowledge as possible from working alongside Paudie and the selectors.
“I’m well settled in now and really enjoying the process. In the beginning, I wasn't familiar with all the coaches. Working with any high-performance team requires an inter-disciplinary approach in specific areas as each coach has specialised expertise. However, everything eventually merges into a multidisciplinary approach when you finally put all the pieces together.
“Paudie Murray is one of the top managers in the country. He has huge experience and knowledge. He proved this with the Cork camogie team in recent years.
His brother Kevin is also a top coach. The strength and conditioning team and Kevin work closely when planning sessions. The conversations involve game-specific components of fitness game-specific practice. I'm like a sponge around the training pitch at the moment as I’m absorbing everything and gaining a huge amount of experience,” he added.
He saw the role as strength and conditioning coach with the Cork minor hurlers advertised on the Irish Strength and Conditioning Network. After a brief chat with Donnacha Mulcahy who is the head of strength and conditioning with the Cork minor hurlers, he came on board.
“I came across the role on the Irish Strength and Conditioning Network which was advertised by Donnacha Mulcahy. Donnacha invited me for a coffee and a chat, and we both agreed I'd be a good fit for the role.”
The opportunity to work with the most talented young hurlers in the county is an experience O'Sullivan is thoroughly enjoying as he seeks to ensure the players continue to progress and develop under his guidance.
“I'm lucky to be dealing with young athletes playing at the highest level within their discipline. I have enjoyed the process of building relationships with the players and now understand each player's individual characteristics.”
O'Sullivan has a very important role behind the scenes as he carefully gauges whether players are fully recovered and ready to train before each training session. His role is vital in ensuring the players avoid burnout and can train and play at their optimum levels.
“Essentially I'm aiding with the strength and conditioning team covering both gym and pitch sessions. All gym and pitch conditioning sessions are designed and supervised by the strength and conditioning team. We collect measurements before each training to ensure players are fully recovered and ready to train.
"We also collect some internal and external load measurements after each training to ensure the correct training dosage has been met.”
The 25-year-old strength and conditioning coach credits Joe O’Connor who has successfully worked with several inter-county teams as a major influence on his career path.
“I graduated from IT Tralee in 2017 with a BSc in Health and Leisure specialising in Exercise Science & Fitness Professional. I was initially influenced by Joe O’Connor who was my lecturer. Joe has also been one of the top strength and conditioning coaches in GAA circles having worked with numerous All-Ireland winning teams.”
Strength and conditioning currently play a central role in all inter-county and club teams as players and coaches strive to gain advantages over their rivals in the quest for glory. He said it is best utilised when supporting athletes’ physical development and helping to prevent injury.
“Strength and conditioning have become a huge part of inter-county and club teams in recent years. Strength and conditioning aren’t a one size fit all approach either. Strength and conditioning should be specific for individual players as you must also understand the sports demands and the team’s style of play.
"It's important to remember strength and condition is a tool to support athletes’ physical development and aid with injury prevention.”
O'Sullivan has led the Leisure Centre team in the Celtic Ross Hotel for four years.
“Managing a busy Leisure Centre is tough without any other commitments. Thankfully I have a strong team at work who have been very supportive.”