It’s been a busy few weeks for Cobh Ramblers u19 star David Grant O’Sullivan. Along with re-signing for his second season at the Island club, the Ballyphehane native captained Presentation Brothers College Cork to the Munster U19 Schools Cup. All this while studying for his mock exams ahead of the Leaving Cert. The former Kilreen Celtic attacker wouldn’t want it any other way though.
“It’s been a busy time to be fair but I’m enjoying it. It’s great to be back training with Cobh after the break and then you have training with the school as well. The mocks on top of that means that it can be hard but you just have to find the right balance and have a timetable that suits everything.”
O’Sullivan is entering his second season at the club, having joined from Kilreen Celtic last summer. Ramblers are well into their pre-season routine at this stage and ‘Granty’, as he is known, is optimistic for the 2016 campaign.
“The preparation has been very good this year. There’s a real feeling of togetherness in the squad which is fantastic. Everyone has put in their own work during the off season and you could see that when we all came back after the break. The squad is definitely stronger and fitter. We are looking to be more of a force this season and make St Colman’s Park a fortress.”
With a new man at the helm in Len Hackett, there have been plenty of changes within the u19 setup. The ex-College Corinthians coach has clearly already made a positive impression.
“I have been very impressed with Len since he came in. He has been getting to know the lads and his ideas are great. I’m a fan of his training methods and I like his approach to the game. You can see that he’s a winner, and that’s something that I love to see in a manager.”
Having spent his whole career at Kilreen Celtic prior to joining Cobh, David’s move to the Rams last season was quite a change and something that required plenty of thought.
“I knew a few players who had played for Cobh in the past at u19 level and they all had great things to say about the club. ‘Sparky’ (assistant coach Derek Falvey) was a big influence in me joining the club. I liked his enthusiasm on and off the pitch. He’s a great coach to work with. Bob Donovan was another who influenced me. He’s a club legend down here and ever since the first day I’m came down before signing he has made me feel at home. Whenever I’m there now he’s the first person to greet me! I am very grateful to him for what he has done for me at Cobh.”
The step-up from playing in the Cork Youths League with Kilreen to facing the likes of Shamrock Rovers and Limerick each week immediately struck O’Sullivan in his first season at Ramblers.
“There was a massive step up from day one. The tempo of the game was much quicker and the players in the league were bigger and stronger than what I had faced before. You have to put the work in behind the scenes in order to perform. I like it though and it really pushes you as a player. I feel that this year will be our year and the whole squad is impressing in training.”
As the conversation turns to Presentation Brothers Cork’s Munster Senior Cup win over Douglas Community School, it’s obvious that the victory meant a lot to the side’s captain.
“It was just an unbelievable feeling. Everyone knows of ‘Pres’ as a rugby school but that was our second Munster Cup in a row and it’s great to put the school on the football map. The vice principal, Aidan Twomey, deserves huge credit for what he has done to the school’s football teams. It’s my final year at the school and it was a dream come true to lift the cup. Everyone involved was amazing and it was a great team to be a part of.”
Turning attention back to Cobh, senior manager Stephen Henderson has shown no hesitation in adding u19 players to his squad of late with the likes of Charlie Fleming and Ben O’Riordan stepping up. While O’Sullivan is keen to join them, his aims are solely on his own side at the moment.
“I would love to play for the first team at some stage but right now my focus is on our upcoming season and doing my best for the u19’s. If I got a call up from Stephen then that would be great but I’m just focusing on my own team for now. I would like to see my career go as far as it can and playing senior League of Ireland with Cobh would be a great experience. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and I’ll see where that takes me.”