Academy Stars…Cory O’Sullivan
Name: Cory O’Sullivan
Team: Under 17s
Age: 15 (will be 16 in May)
Where are you from? I am from Ballyfermot, Dublin 10. I grew up there and have been there all my life. I moved when I was about 4 but I was still in Ballyfermot.
When did you join Shamrock Rovers? Probably about five years ago. I joined when I was about 10 or 11.
Have you always played left full? When I joined I played left wing for three years and then going into the Under 13s National League I went into left-back under Aido (Aidan Price) and Grayser (Steven Gray). I won Player of the Year that year and continued as a left-back from there.
Have you won any leagues or cups since joining Shamrock Rovers? We won the league at Under 11s and Under 12s and also the Tom Kavanagh Under 12 Cup when we beat St. Kevin’s in the final at Abbottstown. We went unbeaten the year we won the Under 12 league and cup.
After U13s National League your team went back into the DDSL for U14s. Did you find that a bit strange? We didn’t really know what was going to happen after the 13s, we thought our team would get split up and some would go U15s and others would be gone but the club made the decision to keep us all together and go into the DDSL which was strange to us because we thought we would be getting split up.
After that, you went back into the LOI at U15 level. How did you find the transition from LOI to DDSL back to LOI? The only real difference was that there was a bit more quality in the League of Ireland and the quality of play was better, and the trips on the bus away from home as a team (the DDSL was all in Dublin).
Where would you have travelled to in the League of Ireland? We went to Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Galway. It was a whole new experience; it was good to be with the team relaxing on the way there and listening to music on the bus on the way home if we won.
Do you think it’s good that the group you are with have been together throughout that time? It’s good because all of us have good relationships in the team knowing each other for a couple of years now and that’s good for us.
The years have gone so quickly and you are now with the Under 17s. Do you see that as another new challenge? I’m looking forward to this season and looking to develop physically because we are playing a year up. Most of our team are 06 and most of the other teams are mainly 05 so it’s going to be a physical challenge for us but we will embrace it.
The team has played two league games so far. How has that gone for you all? I think we have developed from pre-season anyway and we are looking forward to the season ahead. We have a strong team and we will do well. We will compete.
You are with the SRFC/Ashfield College Transition Year group. How does that work for you training-wise? We train three times a week on the pitch. We do individual sessions. You get to choose the session yourself to help you improve on your weaknesses. We do the gym as well which will help us physically since we are playing a year lower (than most other teams in the league).
Between the daytime sessions and then the evenings with your team you must do a lot of training? It’s a lot of training but we have learned in the TY course about recovery and how important it is so we have slots during the day to recover.
Is there anything given to you specifically in terms of your diet? We have a class with Eoin Donnelly who is a nutritionist. At the start of the year, he told us about our intake of carbohydrates and protein after training and that was good for us to learn.
What sort of food do you have to take? When I am staying here for the day I bring peanut satay chicken and rice. I switch it up some days and bring pasta and beef and steak. I bring two boxes of that and then I bring protein yoghurts and bars, ham sandwiches and that.
Are you allowed to bring in a sneaky bar of chocolate? Nobody has brought in anything like that since we learned about it. Everybody in the TY has started eating healthy and you can see that.
Do you say to your folks at home that this is what you need to be eating? Yes, and ever since I told them about it they have also started to eat the same with me. I wouldn’t have been that healthy eating at home but since the start of the year, I have learned that it’s really important to be eating healthy.
How do you think that helps your body? I think it helps a lot. What food you eat when you are recovering is important. I would have gone home and had anything I wanted that was made at home for me but now my da has pasta and that cooked for me when I get home. I am sticking strictly to that diet.
How do you get up and back to Roadstone? I get a lift from my ma in the morning, she works in Citywest and I get here at around 8.30. She finishes at half-past three but I take the option to stay in Roadstone from school to training.
What do you and the other lads do between school finishing time and training with your team? Mainly, we sit in the clubhouse and we also do a bit of work on the bikes (in the gym) before training and we get our food into us.
What can you tell us about playing for Ireland? I have played eight games for Ireland so far. I started off last September going to Malta. It was 34 degrees there so that was a big change for us. We went to Belfast for the Victory Shield and after that to Spain in November when we played Spain and Norway. Since then we haven’t had a trip but there is one to Serbia coming up soon and I am hoping to be in the squad.
What does it mean to you having played for Ireland? It means a lot because I am representing my country, it’s always an honour, it’s a big step up and I love it.
You have played under several different head coaches here at Rovers since joining. Does that affect you at all or does it matter to you? It hasn’t affected me. Under 13s and 15s I played mainly as a left-back but this year I am playing more left wing-back but I have adapted to both positions and I like both. I don’t mind being under different managers.