Blarney back in the big league as they clinch promotion to the MSL Premier Division

Blarney back in the big league as they clinch promotion to the MSL Premier Division

The Blarney MSL squad

HE will play senior premier division soccer for the first time next season.

And to captain Blarney in the MSL as they return to premier football for the first time since 2010, is an honour Martin O’Sullivan is looking forward to.

The 24 year-old from Donoughmore had a mixed season as his side gained promotion but narrowly missed out on the league title. 

This, along with picking up an injury which had him sidelined for part of the season and led to him missing out on Irish amateur football made it a mixed season for him but he is now more eager than ever for the new season ahead.

“Personally, the season for me had its ups and downs but the ups definitely outweigh the downs,” said O’Sullivan. 

Avondale United's David Warren and Blarney United's Martin O'Sullivan, battle in the air during their MSL Beamish Cup final at Turner's Cross. Picture: David Keane.
Avondale United's David Warren and Blarney United's Martin O'Sullivan, battle in the air during their MSL Beamish Cup final at Turner's Cross. Picture: David Keane.

"Of Course, not winning the league wasn't the ending any of us wanted but getting Blarney United back to the premier is a goal we've been chasing for 12 years and I’m delighted to be part of the group who achieved it.” 

The striker has played with Blarney for the past eight seasons and although he has enjoyed his time to date, getting the opportunity to play Premier is something he believes will be one of the highlights of his career.

“Getting back to the premier is massive for the club. Only two or three members of the current squad have played premier with Blarney so for a lot of us it's a new experience and we relish the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the country. 

 Martin O'Sullivan, Blarney United in action on the left wing against defender Daniel Keane, Park United.
Martin O'Sullivan, Blarney United in action on the left wing against defender Daniel Keane, Park United.

"It's been 12 years for Blarney in the first division and I’ve been involved in three third place finishes in the last seven so it's been long awaited.

“It was heart breaking not to win the league this season. 

"In the end, there was nothing between us and Castleview in three games we played for the league/playoff we had a win each and a draw, both wins by a single goal.

“Unfortunately, there was only one winner and Castleview had some great players and completed the job. 

"We played 18 won 14 drew two lost two. Lost two and drew one in our last three games which was hard to take. 

"We had quite a few injuries to finish the league and it really showed how depth in squad is so important in every game.

“Obviously, we will have regrets and feel we could have done more but we lost to Everton and Leeds, two good teams who came in to their own towards the end of the season and we drew with Castleview. 

"It wasn't our year but that's the joys of soccer. It’s a season I wont forget but hopefully just the start of what this Blarney squad can achieve.” Quick to praise his squad and Management, O’Sullivan speaks highly of the close knit club.

“The squad and management were superb again this season. We had a great blend of youth and experience is the best way to describe this year's squad. 

"Some excellent youth players came through this year and were eager to learn from the experienced "veterans" on the team such as Ray O’Leary and Allan Weldon. 

"Some excellent additions by management too added what we were lacking the last 12 years to get us up.

“The management were excellent all year and gave us everything they possibly could. 

Blarney United's Martin O'Sullivan
Blarney United's Martin O'Sullivan

"Kitman Noel is a great ambassador for Blarney United not only ensuring were always kitted for games but he's always making sure the players appreciate the respect that comes with wearing the Blarney crest.

“Coaches George Lindsay and Davey Moynihan brought great experience and knowledge on oppositions to the squad. 

"Niall Murphy joined us a year and a half ago and is an excellent link between management and the players. 

"Personally, I owe him a huge debt of gratitude doing extra sessions whenever I felt I needed them to help prepare me for Irish training even currently helping me get back to 100% fitness in what should be his down time in the summer.

Blarney United's Martin O'Sullivan
Blarney United's Martin O'Sullivan

“Brian Murray the gaffer has an incredible knowledge of the game and consistently spots things in the game that an untrained eye would never see and coaches us how to improve. 

"The real main man is "Connie Doe." 

"One of Blarney's longest serving members still a massive presence on the side of the pitch. 

"He's the most passionate man I've come across in sport and it filters down from him onto every player.” 

Setting goals at the beginning of the season was important for O’Sullivan, and while he may not have achieved all of them, he is still willing to work hard to achieve his ambition of representing his country.

“The call up to train with the Irish amateurs was an honour and is credited to the coaches working with me for the last eight years, the players pushing me in training and the club always making sure the senior team was well looked after.

“I set myself a goal seven years ago to play for the Irish amateurs and getting the call to train with them this year meant a huge deal to me. "Unfortunately, I picked up an injury which resulted me in missing games however, I trained last week again with them and am hoping I get a call back in August when the next training is on.

“I still have a long way to go and a lot of hard training to try to represent my country but it's one step closer. 

"For Blarney I set two goals at the start of the season, winning the league was the first which I didn’t complete. 

"My personal goal was to get 20 league goals this year and I finished with 22 so I was happy with that on a personal level. 

"I’d trade every single one of them to win the league but that’s not the way it works unfortunately.”

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