Tom O'Sullivan - one of the all time greats

Months of speculation surrounding the future of Kerry defender Tom O'Sullivan and whether he was or was not going to return to the Kerry squad ended last week, when O'Sullivan decided to call time on his glittering intercounty career with the Kingdom.
So the curtain came down an illustrious career that began back in 1999 and has seen O'Sullivan collect five All-Ireland senior medals in the green and gold.

However in his prime Tom O'Sullivan (33) was one of Kerry's finest defenders, and made 76 Championship appearances for Kerry between 2000 -2011. O'Sullivan was missed by the Kerry minors but played with the Kerry U-21's in /98 and '99 winning an All-Ireland medal in '98.
He made his debut for Kerry in 1999 in the League against Cork and made his Championship debut the following June in the Munster semi final against Cork, wearing the number 5 shirt. He played in most defensive positions including full-back in 2008 and 2009 until Tommy Griffin replaced him for the qualifier against Longford with O'Sullivan returning to left fullback for the rest of the campaign.
O'Sullivan won five senior All-Ireland medals, and played in ten finals (including two in 2000) and also collected two All-Stars. He won two Kerry SFC medals with East Kerry and won various honours at club level.
With the departure of Tommy Griffin at Christmas and now O'Sullivan, Tomas O'Se is now the only player left from the team of 2000 that started an unprecedented twelve years for Kerry football.
Kerry boss Jack O'Connor paid tribute to retiring Kerry defender Tom O'Sullivan, the holder of five All-Ireland senior medals and after a career spanning thirteen years with the Kingdom.
O'Connor confessed that O'Sullivan's retirement was on the cards "It was on the cards all right. I met him around Christmas and I knew he was considering his future. But Tom owes nothing to Kerry football because he has been a great servant over thirteen years. He is 33 years old but he has five All-Ireland medals and played in a few more so he has had a great career. I am sure now that he will enjoy his retirement"
As for some of the memories of Tom, O'Connor " I go back a good bit with Tom, because I won an All-Ireland U-21 title with him in 1998 when I was trainer of that team. He was a great corner back and a great man marker over many years. He came up against the best of them, all the best corner forwards around the country, like Michael Meehan, Paddy Bradley and the entire top inside forwards. He has marked all the best left footed corner forwards in the country and over his career very few have beaten him. He has really been a great player over the years"
O'Connor is reminded that in his book "Keys to Kingdom" he penned some colourful anecdotes of the teak tough Rathmore defender "He was a great character to put it mildly - a bit of a rogue. There was always a bit of gamesmanship going on by Tom at the start of every season of when he was coming back. But the one thing about him was that once he came back, and put his mind to it, there was no better man to train. I can never remember Tom being injured because he was a natural athlete. He was a great character in the dressing room with a dry sense of humour. He would test your patience at times but I have to say I had great time for him because when it came to game time and Tom put his game face on, there was no one better.
He will be missed because characters like Tom do not come around every day and now it's the new generation and it's a great opportunity for the likes of Shane Enright, Brian McGuire and Peter Crowley to step up because they are the next generation of Kerry footballers. We have to move on but certainly Tom will be missed"

O'Sullivan will be remembered fondly by Kerry fans as one of the best man markers that ever wore a Kerry jersey and he never left the Green and Gold down. Even last year, there was so much hype about Dublin's full forward Diarmuid Connolly coming up to the All-Ireland Final but O'Sullivan was in complete control and put the shackles on the Dub without too much fuss.
He was also a character as his manager explained but he shied away from the limelight and gave very few interviews during his sterling career for the Kingdom.
So as the Kingdom says farewell to Tom O'Sullivan just remember what service he gave the county for no monetary return - he was a true great and will be considered a Kerry legend when history sits in judgement of the great Rathmore defender.

As the man said "
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog! - Tom O'Sullivan was never afraid of the battle and he was a good man to go to war with - let's wish him well in retirement.

Tom O'Sullivan's Football CV:
O'Sullivan never played football for Kerry in the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship. However, he was part of the Kerry Vocational Schools team that won the All Ireland in 1997. He also won the Munster Under-21 Football Championship with Kerry on two occasions, in 1998 and 1999, going on to win the All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship in 1998.[2]
Senior Playing Career
Tom O'Sullivan made his debut for the Kerry Seniors against Cork in the 1999 National Football League. His Munster Senior Football Championship debut came in 2000, against Cork. O'Sullivan has won the Munster Senior Football Championship six times. He has won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship with Kerry on five occasions in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Tom also won two GAA All Stars Awards . He also picked up three National Football League medals for Kerry in 2004, 2006 and 2009.
O'Sullivan was known primarily as a corner-back, but has had to move to full-back since the retirement of Mike McCarthy. He coped very well in the early stages of the championship in 2009, being described as 'soundness personified at full back'. However, he struggled at times in the Munster final against Michael Cussen of Cork and in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Vincent Corey of Monaghan. Nevertheless, the year ended well for O'Sullivan, as Kerry beat Cork by 3-13 to 1-9 in the All-Ireland Final

• All-Ireland Senior Football Championship 5: 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009
• All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship 1: 1998
• Munster Senior Football Championship 8: 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010,2011
• Munster Under-21 Football Championship 2: 1998, 1999
• National Football League 3: 2004, 2006, 2009
• All Ireland Senior Football Final Man of the Match: 2009
• Kerry Senior Football Championship 2: 1998, 1999 (With East Kerry)
• Kerry Club Football Championship 1: 2011
• County League Div 1 1: 2002
• Kerry Intermediate Football Championship 1: 1999
• Kerry Junior Football Championship 1: 1998
• East Kerry Senior Football Championship O'Donoghue Cup 1: 2005
• All-Ireland Vocational Schools Football Championship 1: 1997
• Munster Vocational Schools Championship 1: 1997