Diarmuid ‘The Rock’ O’Sullivan was a rebel hurling legend. He won three All-Ireland titles during his time in the red and white of Cork and to this day he’s remembered fondly by the Leeside public.
Here, we give you seven reasons as to why he was loved so much.
7. The brother
First up, we love Diarmuid because he’s the brother of Paudie. Paudie ‘Pebbles’ O’Sullivan is one of the most naturally gifted hurlers in the country. Although small in stature, hence the nickname ‘Pebbles’, the younger O’Sullivan proves a handful for any back.
His knack of goal-poaching is something the Cork hurling folk love. Paudie is an inspirational to us all after recovering from a horrible, double leg-break and to return the manner in which he did so.
6. Sully vs Dan
O’Sullivan created great rivalries with many a full-forward throughout his playing days, such was his charisma on the pitch.
He entertained terraces across Munster with constant battles, both on and off the ball. His battle’s with Dan Shanahan of Waterford will go down as one of the best. Both were excellent hurling men, while also being fantastic characters.
In O’Sullivan’s final year (2008) as a Cork inter-county hurler, his passion was as evident as ever. In the famous qualifier win over Galway in Thurles, he was withdrawn at half time. In the aftermath of Cork’s quarter-final victory over Clare, O’Sullivan came under scrutiny for his performance.
The All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny proved to be his last game. Although Kilkenny prevailed, O’Sullivan’s performance will live long in the memory as one of his best. After the final whistle, The Rock let emotions get the better of him and was visibly distraught as he walked down the tunnel, gripping the crest on his jersey of his beloved county.
The Cloyne man went on a hurling rampage in the 2003 All-Ireland Final against Kilkenny. He took on three men, including both Kilkenny legends, Eddie Brennan and D.J Carey.
After losing his hurley, O’Sullivan caught a high ball with two hands and proceeded to knock Eddie Brennan to the ground before dishing out hefty shoulders and then being awarded a free. It’s fair to say he was fired up for this one!
3. Vaseline Days
Diarmuid O’Sullivan was the ultimate warrior. His hurley was obviously the key component to his armour but second on the list would have to have been his tub of vaseline.
It was applied to his eyebrows before each game, normally during the pre-match parade. ‘Sully’ looked the real deal with his vaseline and it definitley added to the scare factor of opponents.
The Cloyne man was ‘cróga’ to say the least. He put in hit after hit, game after game. He protected his club-mate in goal, Dónal Óg Cusack by putting his body on the line on numerous occasions. However, it is the time that he graced Croke Park in his flash blue and white boots, that stands out.
Now that was a brave move. It was All-Ireland final day 2006 and Cork were going for the three-in-a-row, when the ‘Rock’ donned the adidas predator absolado boots. Cork lost the game and it’s fair to say those boots weren’t seen again. However, we admire him for his bravery in his boot choice.
1. Sully As A JCB
We finish with what is regarded widely the greatest shoulder of all time. It was Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Munster quarter-final day, 2001. Limerick came to town and in what was a bad day for the Rebels, ‘Sully’s’ magnificent shoulder provided some consolation.
Playing at full-back, he collected a low ball at pace. With his fierce strength and momentum, he put in a huge hit. Not only did the Limerick player end up on the ground, but the ball ended up over the bar, to the delight of the Blackrock end.
It’s fair to say that here at Pundit Arena HQ, we love Diarmuid O’Sullivan. Let us know if you have more reasons why you think O’Sullivan was such a legend of the game.
Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena