Seán Óg Ó hAilpín has spoken to Newstalk Radio of his gratitude at being back in the Cork senior hurling set-up. Ó hAilpín believed he wouldn’t wear the “Blood and Bandage” again after being told by then manager Denis Walsh that the Fiji born star was not part of his plans for the 2011 season.
Following Walsh’s exit as manager, the newly appointed Jimmy Barry-Murphy invited Ó hAilpín to join the training panel for 2012 and the 34-year-old was named in the starting line-up for the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A opener against Waterford.
The now 35 year-old spoke of his gratitude to Murphy because a lot of people had seen him as finished at inter-county level due to his one year hiatus from the highest level of the game.
“We sat down and had an honest chat. There were no huge expectations, Jimmy said, ‘Look the door is open for you, come in training with the panel and see how the body is shaping up. The body is not so bad, probably not as good as it was five or ten years ago but I’m still able to chase the young cheetahs on the team today,” – said the man who now lives in Whitechurch, just outside the northside of Cork city.
Seán Óg spoke of the importance of looking after your body so as to prolong a high level sporting career: “The consensus would be that once you reach 30 in sport you are finished, which is crude and harsh. What you do on the pitch and around training has a knock-on effect. But it’s your lifestyle outside of training that is the key to a prolonged career.”