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|Irish name||Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin|
|Football Position:||Left corner-forward|
27 July 1978 |
Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 22:23, 9 February 2014.|
Born in Cloyne, County Cork, O'Sullivan first played competitive hurling whilst at school in Midleton CBS. He made his first impression on the inter-county scene at the age of eighteen when he joined the Cork under-21 team. He made his senior debut during the 1997 championship. O'Sullivan went on to play a key role for Cork for over a decade, and won three All-Ireland medals and five Munster medals. He was an All-Ireland runner-up on two occasions.
As a member of the Munster inter-provincial team at various times throughout his career, O'Sullivan won one Railway Cup medal. At club level he is a one-time championship medallist with divisional side Imokilly. O'Sullivan also continues to line out with Cloyne.
Throughout his career O'Sullivan made 48 championship appearances for Cork. He announced his retirement from inter-county hurling on 13 May 2009.
In retirement from playing, O'Sullivan became involved in team management and coaching. In 2014 he was appointed manager of the Cork under-16 hurling team.
Diarmuid O'Sullivan was born in Cloyne, County Cork in 1978. He was educated at the local national school in Cloyne village and later attended nearby Midleton CBS. It was here that his hurling talents first came to the fore. O'Sullivan quickly became a key fixture on the school's senior hurling team and, in 1995, he landed a Dr. Harty Cup title – the Munster senior colleges' hurling title. Midleton CBS later qualified for the All-Ireland colleges' final with St. Raphael's of Loughrea providing the opposition. An exciting game developed, however, at the full-time whistle St. Raphael's were the champions by 3–10 to 3–5. A personal tally of 3–1 by Joe Deane was not enough to prevent the defeat.
O'Sullivan plays his local club hurling with his local club in Cloyne and has had some success with the club. He has annexed a number of East Cork hurling and football titles, however, it was as a member of the Imokilly divisional side in 1997 that he enjoyed his greatest success to date. That year O'Sullivan lined out in the final of the county senior championship with Sarsfield's providing the opposition. A thrilling 1–18 to 2–12 victory gave Imokilly the title and gave O'Sullivan a county senior championship winners' medal.
1997 also saw O'Sullivan taste victory with Cloyne. The club reached the county final of the county intermediate championship that year, with Delanys providing the opposition. The final whistle in that game saw Cloyne claim a merited 1–12 to 1–7 victory, giving O'Sullivan a county intermediate championship winners' medal. This victory allowed Cloyne to join the ranks of the senior county championship in 1998.
By 2004 Cloyne had consolidate their position in the senior ranks and even reached the final. Na Piarsaigh provided the opposition, however, O'Sullivan's side were no match for the city side. A great second-half display saw O'Sullivan end up on the wrong side of a 0–17 to 0–10 defeat.
In 2005 Cloyne set out to avenge the previous year's defeat and reached the county final again. Newtownshandrum were the opponents on that occasion, however, Cloyne were still off the pace. A 0–15 to 0–9 defeat saw 'Newtown' take their third county title of the decade, while O'Sullivan ended up on the losing side for a second year in-a-row.
2006 saw Cloyne reach a third successive county final. Erin's Own were the opponents and an exciting game ensued. A thrilling game produced a score line of 2–19 to 3–14, however, for the third year in-a-row O'Sullivan ended up on the losing side.
Since that defeat Cloyne have failed to reach the championship decider of the county championship.
O'Sullivan's hurling skills at colleges and club championship levels brought him to the attentions of the Cork inter-county selectors and he was soon picked for the under-21 team. In 1997 hwon a Munster title in this grade when Tipperary were defeated by a single point. It took a late goal by Timmy McCarthy to secure a 1–11 to 0–13 victory. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Cork take on Galway. Cork were victorious on that occasion on a score line of 3–11 to 0–13 giving O'Sullivan an All-Ireland under-21 winners' medal.
1998 saw Cork maintaining their provincial dominance with O'Sullivan collecting a second consecutive Munster under-21 winners' medal with a 3–18 to 1–10 victory over Tipp. For the third year in-a-row Cork played in the All-Ireland final and, for the second consecutive year, O'Sullivan lined out against Galway. In a close game Cork just about secured a 2–15 to 2–10 win. It was O'Sullivan's second consecutive All-Ireland under-21 winners' medal.
O'Sullivan's move onto the Cork senior team was a natural progression for such a talented player. He made his senior championship debut in 1997 with Limerick providing the opposition in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Cork were hammered in that game by 3–18 to 1–8 as the county surrendered a seventy-five-year-old unbeaten run at home.
In 1998 O'Sullivan was just nineteen years-old when he was appointed captain of the Cork senior hurling team. That year he tasted success at senior level for the first time as Cork defeated Waterford to take the National Hurling League title. It was a welcome return to the big time for Cork; however, success in the championship was slow in coming. Between 1997 and 1999 O'Sullivan played in every championship game for Cork and only ended up on the winning side on one occasion, a Munster quarter-final game against Limerick in 1998.
In 1999 Cork were back in their first Munster final since 1992 and O'Sullivan took back his usual full-back berth. Clare, the team that had won three of the last four provincial titles, together with two All-Ireland titles, provided the opposition and were very much the favourites going into the game. An exciting contest unfolded with full-forward Joe Deane scoring a key goal after an excellent pass from Seánie McGrath. A score line of 1–15 to 0–14 gave Cork the victory and gave O'Sullivan his first senior Munster title. Cork later defeated Offaly in one of the games of the year to set up an All-Ireland final meeting with arch-rivals Kilkenny. A wet and windy day meant that the classic game that everyone expected failed to materialise. Both sides shot seventeen wides over the course of the seventy minutes as a young and inexperienced Cork came back from five points down to win by 0–13 to 0–12. It was Cork's first senior All-Ireland title since 1990 and it was O'Sullivan first. He finished off the year by claiming his first All-Star award and was also named as the Eircell Young Hurler of the Year.
In 2000 Cork were the favourites to retain their All-Ireland title. The team got off to a good start by retaining their Munster title, however, Tipperary put up a good fight and lost by 0–23 to 3–12. Cork's next game was an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Offaly. While Cork were expected to win the game without breaking a sweat Offaly caught O'Sullivan's side on the hop and recorded a 0–19 to 0–15 win. In spite of surrendering their All-Ireland crown O'Sullivan was later honoured by collecting a second All-Star award.
While the Cork hurling team should have gone from strength to strength as a result of a solid foundation at minor and under-21 levels the opposite happened. Embarrassing defeats in 2001 and 2002 saw the Cork hurling team reach rock bottom.
In 2002 O'Sullivan became the latest Cork man to become a dual player of both hurling and football. He lined out with the Cork footballers in the National Football League and mad ehis championship debut against Kerry in a Munster semi-final. Cork defeated Kerry in a replay of the game and later trounced Tipperary by 1–23 to 0–7 in a replay of the provincial decider. It was O'Sullivan's first Munster football winners' medal. The subsequent All-Ireland semi-final pitted Cork against Kerry. It was an historic occasion as it was the first time that these great rivals had met in Croke Park. Cork were trounced on a score line of 3–19 to 2–7. The year ended with the Cork hurling team going on strike. The players, who had been seeking better conditions, refused to play or train with the county again until the dispute with the county board was resolved. Had the strike failed it could have meant the end of his and his teammates' careers, however, in the end the county board relented and met the demands. Although still amateur sportsmen the Cork senior hurling team were treated as professional athletes.
In 2003 Cork's players were vindicated in taking a stand as the team reached the Munster final for the first time in three years. Waterford provided the opposition on that occasion as one of hurling's modern rivalries began in earnest. An exciting game resulted between the two teams; however, victory went to Cork by 3–16 to 3–12. It was O'Sullivan's third Munster medal and it gave a signal that Cork were back. Deane's side were hot favourites going into the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford, however, it was far from a walkover. In one of the most exciting games of the championship both sides finished level: Cork 2–20, Wexford 3–17. Both sides met again six days later with Cork making no mistake and taking the spoils on a score line of 3–17 to 2–7. This win set up an All-Ireland final meeting with Kilkenny. In another thrilling game of hurling both teams were level for much of the game, exchanging tit-for-tat scores. A Setanta Ó hAilpín goal steadied the Cork ship, however, a Martin Comerford goal five minutes from the end settled the game as Kilkenny went on to win by 1–14 to 1–11. Deane later added a third All-Star to his collection.
2004 saw Cork reach the Munster final once again and, for the second consecutive year, Waterford provided the opposition. In what many consider to be the greatest provincial decider of them all, both sides fought tooth-and-nail for the full seventy minutes. Cork lost the game by just a single point on a score line of Waterford 3–16, Cork 1–21. Although Cork surrendered their provincial crown they were still in with a chance of landing the All-Ireland title. After manoeuvring through the qualifiers Cork reached a second consecutive All-Ireland final and, once again, Kilkenny provided the opposition. This game took on a life of its own for a number of reasons. Chief among these was the fact that Kilkenny were attempting to capture a third All-Ireland in-a-row and go one ahead of Cork in the All-Ireland roll of honour. The game was expected to be another classic; however, a damp day put an end to this. The first half was a low-scoring affair and provided little excitement for fans. The second-half saw Cork completely take over. For the last twenty-three minutes Cork scored nine unanswered points and went on to win the game by 0–17 to 0–9. It was O'Sullivan's second All-Ireland winners' medal. A third All-Star award quickly followed.
In 2005 Cork were on form again. They won back the provincial crown that year with a 1–12 to 1–16 victory over Tipperary. It was O'Sullivan's fourth Munster winners' medal as Cork went on the march for glory once again. In the All-Ireland semi-final against Clare their championship campaign was nearly derailed when they fell behind by seven points at the start of the second-half. A huge performance by Cork turned this deficit around and Deane's side eventually went on to win the game by 0–16 to 0–15. While it was expected that Cork and Kilkenny would do battle again in a third consecutive All-Ireland final Galway were the surprise winners of the second semi-final. It was the first meeting of Cork and Galway in an All-Ireland final since 1990 and even more daunting was the fact that men from the west had never beaten Cork in a championship decider. Once again neither side broke away into a considerable lead, however, at the final whistle Cork were ahead by 1–21 to 1–16. For the second year in-a-row Cork were the All-Ireland champions and O'Sullivan collected his third winners' medal. He later won a fourth All-Star award.
2006 saw Cork turn their attentions to a first three-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles since 1978. The team's championship campaign got off to a good start with a 0–20 to 0–14 defeat of Clare in the opening round of the Munster championship. The subsequent provincial decider saw Cork take on Tipp for the second consecutive year and a 2–11 to 1–11 victory over their old rivals saw O'Sullivan win a fifth provincial winners' medals. Subsequent victories over Limerick and Waterford saw Cork qualify for their fourth consecutive All-Ireland final and for the third time Kilkenny were the opponents. Like previous encounters neither side took a considerable lead, however, Kilkenny had a vital goal from Aidan Fogarty. Cork were in arrears coming into the final few minutes, however, Ben O'Connor goaled for Cork. It was too little too late as 'the Cats' denied 'the Rebels' the three-in-a-row on a score line of 1–16 to 1–13.
In 2007 Cork's championship ambitions were hampered from the beginning. The so-called Semplegate affair resulted in Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Donal Óg Cusack and O'Sullivan being suspended for a crucial Munster semi-final clash with Waterford. In spite of being without three of their best players Cork put up a good fight but only lost by a goal. After manoeuvring through the qualifiers Cork reached the All-Ireland quarter-final. Once again Waterford provided the opposition as the game controversially ended in a draw – 3–16 apiece. The replay was less exciting; however, it was still a good game as Waterford triumphed by 2–17 to 0–20.
In 2008 Cork were drawn to play Tipperary in the Munster semi-final. It was a date that all hurling fans were looking forward to. In the lead up to the game there was speculation as to the formation of the Cork team. O'Sullivan retained his place at number three and Cork played well in the first-half, however, after the interval Tipp took over. Cork lost by six points and had to take their chances in the win of bust qualifiers. The team's overall performance against Dublin was less than impressive in the 1–17 to 0–15 win. Cork's next game saw Galway, a team regarded as one of the best in the country, provided the opposition. The first half was a poor affair with Cork's goalkeeper, Donal Óg Cusack, being sent off. O'Sullivan, who gave away a penalty to Joe Canning was also taken off. In the second-half, however, Cork took charge with Joe Deane giving a great display and scoring four crucial points from play to help his team to a 0–23 to 2–15 victory and a place in the All-Ireland quarter-final. Clare were the opposition on that occasion and, once again, Cork gave a poor first-half display. The second half was a different story with Cork taking charge once again and securing a 2–19 to 2–17 victory. O'Sullivan's performance was croticised again, however, the victory allowed Cork to advance to the All-Ireland semi-final where Kilkenny provided the opposition. It was the first time that these two teams met in the championship outside of an All-Ireland final. That game was an intriguing encounter; however, 'the Cats' won the day by 1–23 to 0–17. In spite of the defeat and in spite of all the ctiticism he received, O'Sullivan gave one of his best displays ever. After the final whistle a visibly emotional O'Sullivan tightly gripped the crest on his red jersey, while he was comforted by Henry Shefflin, one of his great rivals on the field of play.
On 13 May 2009 O'Sullivan confirmed his retirement from inter-county hurling. He told RTÉ that his decision was partly based on his desire to move from his trademark full-back position. He also said he had indicated to the Cork management of his desire to play anywhere else on the field, however, they believed that if he didn't play at full-back there would not be another suitable position for him.
O Sullivan is now coaching Limerick Junior A side Stakers.
Dr Harty Cup Winner 1995
- Cork Senior Hurling Championship:
- Winner (1): 1997
- Runner-up (3): 2004, 2005, 2006
- Cork Intermediate Hurling Championship:
- Winner (1): 1997
- Runner-up (1): 1996
- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship:
- Munster Senior Hurling Championship:
- Winner (5): 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006
- Runner-up (1): 2004
- National Hurling League:
- Winner (1): 1997–98 (c)
- Runner-up (1): 2002
- All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship:
- Winner (1): 1997, 1998
- Munster Under-21 Hurling Championship:
- Winner (1): 1997, 1998
- Railway Cup:
- Winner (1): 2000
- Runner-up (3): 1999, 2002
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|Cork Senior Hurling Captain
|Eircell Young Hurler of the Year