IF you travel to watch any local youth soccer game on any given weekend, there is one man that you would bump into and that is Sean O’Sullivan.
Sean’s normal weekend sees him attend at least five or six games while doing his duties as secretary with the Munster Senior League and the chairman and secretary of the Cork Youth League.
O’Sullivan started off his soccer career playing in goal with the Farmer’s Union and played alongside the late Jackie O’Driscoll in the Cork Shipping League from 1974 to 1976.
He then joined Albert Rovers in 1976 who were playing in the Munster Senior League at the time. He played there for another two-year period before joining Victoria Athletic, who played in the AUL.
However, he only played a year with them and then took a break after getting married to Catherine O’Neill.
The next couple of years were spent with his wife Catherine raising their young children, Mary, Ciara, Eoin and Dara at their home in Carrigaline.
After a few years out of the game, he joined his local club Carrigaline United and was elected as their club secretary, a position he held for 10 years.
“I was a latecomer to the game as I started out playing in goal for the Farmer’s Union in the Shipping League,” he said.
“I then played for Albert Rovers and played there for a season until one day a guy called Alex Ludzic arrived for training. I knew then that my time was numbered because Alex (RIP) would go on to be one of the finest goalkeepers that ever played in Cork and Ireland.
“I took a few years away from the game when we moved house to Carrigaline and I spent my spare time looking after the kids. My son Eoin was playing with Carrigaline United so I followed him up one day and after a few months I was elected as secretary of the club, a position I held for 10 years.”
He was then elected onto the Munster Senior League committee in 2006 as registrar and he is still on that committee today as secretary.
The Cork Youth League was formed in 2006 and they had only 24 teams playing that year.
O’Sullivan joined the Youth Committee the following year to help out Tony Fitzgerald, Paddy Byrne, Barry Peelo, Michael Foley, John Finnegan and Peadar O’Leary.
“My first year on the Munster Senior League committee I was elected as Registrar.
“The following year I joined the youth league that was formed by the amalgamation of the MSL and the AUL.
“I would like to thank Daly’s Industrial Supplies for their generous sponsorship as they been sponsoring the Cork Youth League since the very first year. We brought some of our youth teams to England the year before Covid hit and the players and management had a great experience.
“They travelled to play Sheffield United on their first trip where local lad Ethon Varian really shined that weekend and now he plays his football with Bohemians, after playing with Stoke City for the previous two years. The other trip was when we travelled to play Huddersfield Town and the lads got to play in the John Smith’s Stadium.
“I really think the standard of the youths leagues in Cork is in a great place at the moment.
“Over the last few years, many clubs have won FAI Youth Cups as well as Munster Youth Cups and I would like to thank and congratulate all their coaches, management and players for the hard work they put in to bring those cups back to Leeside.”
The Cork Youth Academy is held every Wednesday night at Douglas Hall’s ground. Frank Kelleher runs the academy and has 40 to 50 players show up on the night. O'Sullivan always encourages coaches to do their coaching badges with the FAI.
The youth committee has always subsidised the cost for coaches in the past with Frank Kelleher, Dillon Collins and James Fogarty receiving their badges over the years.
“I am very proud of our academy and the great work that Frank Kelleher does for us. To see more than 50 players from all different clubs improving together its a sight to behold.
“Another thing I want to improve is the coaching around the leagues and I would encourage any young coaches to try get their coaching badges from the FAI.
“Finally I would like to thank my fellow committee members, Tony Chambers, Denis Lyne, Richie Browne, Terry Ryan, Padar O’Leary, Christy Byrne, Denis Crowley and James Fogarty for all the hard work they do.”