28 Jun 2022

WATCH: Sean O’Dea keen to merge final focus with enjoying Limerick-Kerry final occasion

SEAN O’Dea followed in a long line of classy corner backs when he made his Limerick senior football championship debut in 2014.

Darragh Treacy and Cian Sheehan also made their Limerick debuts that evening but the trio had to wait until 2019 for their first Munster SFC victory.

“The key is that we didn't give up and neither did Billy (Lee) - he stayed with us. We had some hard days but we didn't give up and it's a case of regrouping and coming again. There is a lot of long tough years and sessions that went into this," said O'Dea back in March when Limerick secured league promotion and a first trip to Croke Park for the Kilteely-Dromkeen man.

Recounting the Limerick journey this week, O’Dea gives much praise to Limerick strength and conditioning coach Adrian O’Brien.

“He sets a programme so that we can compete in championship - it’s not about looking good!” he outlined.

The defender explains how Limerick are now “more powerful - faster and stronger”.

But there is more to the O’Brien roles explains O’Dea.

“Another aspect he has brought is the focus on our brain and the psychological aspect of performance. Getting bigger and stronger is not good enough - that won’t actually bring you any wins but it allows you to compete. It’s managing a game and knowing what to do in key moments is what delivers results,” he outlined.

Next stop on the Limerick journey is Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.

“I wasn’t sure if I would ever get to play in one so I am delighted to be there and now just want to give it my all and the lads are all the same. The lads are really looking forward to it. Something that we have talked about is making sure that we enjoy the occasion and not shut ourselves off from it. We are going to be focused on what we do and focused on our game plan but at the same time we are going to try and look around and embrace the fact that it is not everyday you get to play in a Munster final,” said the UCD 2016 Sigerson Cup winner.

This season already Limerick have played 12 competitive games – winning seven and losing five. Two of the five defeats came in the McGrath Cup last January, including a 23-point loss to Kerry. Across 2022 and the years leading prior, O’Dea is proud of the evolution of his team and how they set out to play.

“It is a challenge when you are coming from Division Four but it is something that you can get excited about and we have definitely relished trying to add additional elements to our game in terms of being more expansive in how we play. It’s easy to talk about it but doing it is a lot more challenging. But winning any inter-county game is all that matters - is doesn’t really matter how you get.”

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