A former Kerry football star has been hailed a hero after he foiled an attempted burglary by a criminal gang.
Tom O'Sullivan (36), a serving member of An Garda Síochana based in Listowel Co Kerry, was assaulted with a hurley as he attempted to arrest one of the gang following a chase on foot.
The five times All-Ireland winner was not seriously injured in the attack and managed to obtain vital evidence, including one of the hurleys and a baseball cap, before the gang made off in a getaway car. The former left full back reported for duty again the following day.
Gda O'Sullivan was on duty in Listowel on Thursday morning last week when the alarm was raised that masked men were attempting to gain entry to a house.
The brave garda was the first on the scene, vaulted over a high rear wall and gave chase on foot as the raiders fled.
They ran off in the direction of the John B Keane Road where they got into a black Audi A3 with tinted windows that sped off on the Tarbet Road in the direction of west Limerick.
The former All-Star managed to grab one of the men as he tried to get into the car. As he attempted to arrest him, he was surrounded by the others, who were armed with hurleys and threatened and assaulted him.
Gardaí believe the men are part of a criminal gang that has been operating in the south west, targeting vacant houses.
Inspector Pat O'Connell of Listowel station said the items confiscated by Gda O'Sullivan have been sent for forensic analysis.
CCTV footage has also been obtained of the car, which had false number plates.
Insp O'Connell appealed to householders to be vigilant and to secure their homes if they are going on holidays.
He said: "These guys are calling to houses prior to doing the burglary, maybe on the pretext of carrying out some work."
Gardaí believe they have been operating in a number of counties in Munster, including Limerick, Cork and Kerry.