Diarmuid O'Sullivan - tough when your own turn on you

Former Cork selector concurs with Pat Mulcahy regarding harsh criticism from local pundits
Diarmuid O'Sullivan - tough when your own turn on you

Cork manager Kieran Kingston, right, with coach Diarmuid O'Sullivan before the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A match between Limerick and Cork at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Diarmuid O’Sullivan has backed up the view of fellow outgoing Cork selector Pat Mulcahy that the harshest criticism faced by management came from within the county.

Earlier this week, in an interview with The Echo, Mulcahy lamented the nature of what he felt was unfair comment from local pundits around former manager Kieran Kingston and the team.

“You’d understand the national media stuff as they’re a bit removed from Cork – it’s more soundbites than anything personal,” Mulcahy said.

“But what did hurt was the negative reaction from former Cork players, in particular those who have platforms on podcasts and social media. Some of that stuff came across as unhelpful and as having an agenda behind it.

“I couldn’t get my head around why people that understand the challenges – and privilege – of playing for Cork would forget so easily and have a go.”

O’Sullivan, speaking to Newstalk’s Off The Ball, put forward similar sentiments.

"Social media has now become life and a lot of things are driven through social media,” he said, “but through that you need to find balance. And that's impossible.

“Whatever about national media, some of the harshest scrutiny has come from people within Cork, who have worn the red jersey, people who have stood on the line doing certain roles as part of Cork setup. It’s tough when your own turn on you, start to throw snide remarks, digs. I’m thick-skinned. Some of it does concern because when it comes from your own, it’s probably hard to take. There’s reason behind everything, why people do this.

“A lot of things are driven through social media. Through that you need to find balance. There’s a number of guys in the game of hurling, look at Paul Murphy, he’s one of the most balanced guys I’ve ever seen talk about the game of hurling. To be fair Eddie Brennan similar, Jamesie O’Connor. They’re fair but judgemental at the same time.

“Kieran has worked under the most scrutinised conditions any inter-county manager has faced.”

While neither Mulcahy nor O’Sullivan identified any of the critics by name, he did address some of the specific issues that had been highlighted in a way that he felt lacked nuance.

"There was a guy who questioned our loyalty to senior players, had we alienated some of them,” he said.

“The same guy who questioned our loyalty, once he was deemed surplus to requirements by Kieran, jumped ship on the very club who gave him the opportunity to play for Cork and moved back across the border.”

The three-time All-Ireland winner said that he largely ignores social media but that some of the criticism still gets through.

"As much as you try to block it out it you'll always meet someone during the course of the day and they'll say, 'Did you see such and such a fella?', 'Did you see this guy's podcast?', 'Did you read this guy's report?', 'Did you see this guy on The Sunday Game?'.

"You just have to switch off. Some of them guys, there's history with certain members of previous management who would be involved in our backroom team. At some stages in the careers of these guys on their podcasts, on their social media, they have crossed paths with members of management down through the years."

O’Sullivan, who won an All-Ireland with Pat Ryan in 1999, believes the new manager will be a success.

“Wonderful,” he said.

“Pat Ryan is a brilliant, brilliant guy with a brilliant attitude. I think Pat with the group of players that we have left and the number of players that are coming behind, I think Pat and his incoming management team will have a wonderful opportunity to bring Cork hurling back to where it needs to be.

“We’ve been absolutely privileged, myself and Kieran, we’ve had five years. The privilege for us to be involved with the Cork senior hurling squad for five years, it’s hugely proud for us and our families.

“We believe we gave everything to the cause. We did everything in the right manner to bring Cork hurling forward. Myself, Kieran, Pat and Noel, not for one second did we give it any thought because we knew what we were doing on the field was the right thing.

“We can move out of the job with our heads held high over the course of the last three years. We had a dip but it was the way our performances were scrutinised, the way we played the game, the way we were tactically setup, questions were we capable of doing it. It was just a multitude and mix of things. We were big boys and we were able to block the noise out.”

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