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Kerry’s first All Star Donie O’Sullivan tells his story in new autobiography ‘A Footballer, Once’

Spa club man captained Kerry to All-Ireland glory in 1970 and almost joined the New York Jets as a kicker in the NFL

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All-Ireland winning Kerry captain Donie O'Sullivan tells his story in his forthcoming autobiography 'A Footballer, Once' which has been co-authored by Jimmy Darcy

All-Ireland winning Kerry captain Donie O'Sullivan tells his story in his forthcoming autobiography 'A Footballer, Once' which has been co-authored by Jimmy Darcy

All-Ireland winning Kerry captain Donie O'Sullivan tells his story in his forthcoming autobiography 'A Footballer, Once' which has been co-authored by Jimmy Darcy

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Kerry’s All-Ireland winning captain in 1970, and the Kingdom’s first All Star winner the following year, Donie O’Sullivan is to tell his story in a new book ‘A Footballer, Once’ which has been co-authored by Jimmy Darcy, his fellow Spa club man.

Donie O’Sullivan, A Footballer, Once’ is the memoir of a man who was, as the title suggests, once a footballer.

Like many hundreds before him, and after him, O’Sullivan wore the famous green and gold of Kerry with immense pride. But this book – part of The Legends Series – is not just O’Sullivan’s story. It is the story of a people and a place, Spa. It is the story of a time, the 1960s and 70s. And it is the story of a county, Kerry.

Donie O’Sullivan was the first Kerry man to win an All Star award, when he was chosen at right corner-back on the inaugural team in 1971.

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He had won three All-Ireland medals with his county by then, in 1962, ’69, and ’70 – captaining his county and lifting the Sam Maguire Cup in 19070 – and winning a fourth All-Ireland medal in 1975.

O’Sullivan also won seven National League medals with Kerry, almost in spite of a career that brought him far and wide, and had him playing with Clanna Gael in Dublin and the Kerry team in New York. All that, of course, while proudly wearing the colours of his beloved Spa club, at a time the club was in its infancy. He also lined out for Dr Crokes in Killarney.

O’Sullivan retained his All Star award in 1972, but by that stage he may well have become an American Football player. A renowned kicker of a dead ball, while attending St John’s University in New York in the late 60s he was invited to join the New York Jets but he declined.

The book will be launched in the Spa GAA club house soon and will be available to buy firstly online and then in local bookshops.


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