Saturday 23 November 2019

Where are they now?

DAVID O'SULLIVAN (Former Leinster rugby player)

When former Leinster player David O'Sullivan broke both his legs in a car accident in 1997, he feared he'd never play rugby again.

However, after two years of intensive rehab he got back on his feet and although the crash ended his career with Leinster, he went on to play for over a decade with Skerries, before finally retiring last year.

O'Sullivan spent three seasons with Leinster at a time when they were taking their first steps into European Cup rugby. In 1996, the flanker made his European debut against the Leicester Tigers.

"The Leicester game was my first start of the season. I remember Mike Ruddock ringing me and telling me I was starting and I was delighted because I'd felt like I'd deserved a start for a while," said O'Sullivan. "They played me against Neil Back, who was one of the top opensides at the time. It was huge deal for me to be given that opportunity."

Although O'Sullivan found the step-up to European Cup rugby tough, he had spent a year with North Harbour in New Zealand before signing with Leinster. While there, he had lined out with a team of All Blacks in front of massive crowds and this experience stood to him during his time with Leinster.

Back in the mid-1990s, O'Sullivan was the only player from north county Dublin in the Leinster squad. Mike Ruddock was the coach and he brought in players from outside the usual catchment area. For example, along with O'Sullivan, Reggie Corrigan from Greystones and Shane Horgan from Meath also joined Leinster. While playing for Leinster, O'Sullivan was still working in Skerries, finishing every day at four and driving to Blackrock for training at five.

"I was building a house as well at the time so I was very busy. It was hard to juggle everything and very tiring. There were young lads coming through too, and all they wanted to do was eat, sleep and breathe training. They were hungry for it whereas I was just looking at it as a job."

Although O'Sullivan misses the camaraderie of playing rugby, he is busy with two jobs. He is currently working with Edgeform Metals and is also starting with Robeplan Ireland. The former Leinster player is also planning a wedding to fiancée Amanda Byrne and has a daughter Agnes.

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