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Old Kerry Habits Die Hard For Darran O'Sullivan

Old Kerry Habits Die Hard For Darran O'Sullivan

After 13 years playing senior inter-county football, Darran O'Sullivan pulled the key from the ignition last autumn.

The months since have been spent watching Kerry from the stands and (sometimes unintentionally) on TV.

"I was going to away league games and everything. I went up to Cavan this year!" said O'Sullivan at the launch of AIB’s new short film, The Toughest Temptation.

"My wife Laura said to me, ‘you’re like someone who can’t let go’. And I was like, ‘I probably can’.

"It was nice to go to the league games. The league games were cold and wet. I was like ‘it’s grand being in the stand with a cup of tea watching it’. But when the championship came around, going to the Munster final was tough.

"I was away on holidays for the [All-Ireland] semi-final. Myself, my wife and my little girl with Kieran O’Leary and his wife. We booked Croatia and then about two or three weeks beforehand, I was going ‘the date sounds familiar – what’s on? The semi-final, that’s too early... for fuck's sake’.

"So we watched it in a small bar in the old town. For the first half, myself and Kieran were nice and quiet. Getting away with it. There were a few fucks flying then in the second half.

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"It’s hard going to be honest. The body feels great because I’m doing a lot of my own training. You’d be there thinking, ‘Jesus Christ, I could still be up there. I can still do something’. But it’s just the load, the body wouldn’t be able for that. Too busy and stuff. Next year might be easier."

O'Sullivan won four All-Ireland with Kerry under the management of Jack O'Connor, Pat O'Shea and Eamonn Fitzmaurice. He captained Kerry to their win against Cork a decade ago and is still close with those old teammates.

"I’d talk to Donnchadh [Walsh] a good bit. I’d talk to [Kieran] Donaghy a good bit. I was chatting to [Anthony] Maher, who had a baby not long after, we kind of hopped a ball about the sleepless nights.

"I was very friendly with everyone in our dressing room. I still try, if I’m in Tralee, meet with Killian [Young], David [Moran], Tommy [Walsh], these fellas for a coffee.

"Donaghy now I’d try and meet on a Saturday night for a bite to eat or whatever, or Donnchadh and stuff. You’d still be chatting away, telling each other how great you were."

Picture credit: Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

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