Former Kerry footballer Seán O’Sullivan has taken the reins from Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan at the Kerry GAA Store in Killarney and the four-time All-Ireland winner says he has big shoes to fill.
“I know Botty since he joined the Kerry set-up in 2004 as our equipment manager and from the minute he walked in, you just knew what kind of guy he was,” Seán said. “He’s a bubbly, vivacious character. Very friendly. When they opened the shop in 2013, it was a no-brainer for him to be the manager. He just has the personality for it.
“After five years here he’s moving on to different things and I know that if I’m half as popular as he was, I’ll be doing a good job. My mantra is, ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’. I have my own ideas for the shop and how to take it forward but Niall and his staff have run it brilliantly. I just want to keep that going, and maybe add my own style to it as well.”
The Cromane native is no stranger to Killarney having previously worked for 13 years at Bank of Ireland on New Street. The opportunity to return to the town was ‘one of the main attractions’ of the job, O’Sullivan says.
“Killarney has a great vibe and I love the people, so from that point of view I’ve had no problem settling in. But the daily running of the business is something completely new to me so that is a little bit challenging.
“Every day I’m getting better at it. I have great support in the staff that I have around me and it’s a ‘learn-as-you-go’ process. But I’m really enjoying it.”
The store, which is located in the Killarney Outlet Centre, is currently preparing for a busy Christmas period and O’Sullivan says the new National League range is proving particularly popular with supporters.
“Weekends are busy but like any business, there’s a bit of a November lull at the moment. We’re hoping to ramp up our Christmas campaign over the next few weeks. Vouchers are huge for us and they’re very popular at this time of year,” he said.
“The new gear is lovely. It really is. And right now we’re already talking to O’Neills about our championship gear for the summer. We’ve got some very good, fresh ideas in relation to that as well. That’s the way the business works; you always have to be ahead of the game.”
The new store manager is hoping for a prosperous 2019 and he acknowledged that the exploits of the Kerry senior team was bound to have a direct effect on business.
“We want Kerry to go all the way – and maybe a few replays thrown in as well!” he joked. “No, look, there’s no doubt about it, Kerry not getting out of the Super 8s last summer affected the store. That only makes sense. The longer Kerry stay in the championship, the better it’s going to be for us. And it goes both ways: the better the store is doing, the better Kerry are doing because the profits are going straight back into Kerry GAA.
“It’s a win-win for everybody.”