EXCLUSIVE: First Division goal king O'Sullivan set for LOI retirement
Article by Kieran Burke - @KieranBTS
Following on from our transfer exclusive earlier this week regarding Daniel O’Reilly & Sam Verdon’s impending move to Finn Harps, Betweenthestripes.ie can tonight also exclusively bring you the news that current Shelbourne striker and 2014 First Division winner with Longford Town, David O’Sullivan is to step away from the League of Ireland after a glorious six season spell.
Arriving on the national league stage as an almost total unknown back in 2013 with Longford Town, former Wayside and Arklow Town striker Davy O’Sullivan would go on to become on of the First Division’s most feared hit men of recent times. Securing the second tiers golden boot accolade in 2013, 2014 and again in 2018, O’Sullivan will hang up his League of Ireland boots just one goal shy of a career century in League and Cups.
Wicklow native O’Sullivan made headlines this time last year for very different reasons as the man regarded as a legend by many Longford Town followers ended his five-year association with the Midlands club to sign for division rivals, Shelbourne. It wouldn’t take long for the now thirty-one-year-old to come back and haunt his former employers as O’Sullivan scored a match winning hat-trick against “De Town” at Tolka Park in March before again beating Longford keeper’ Mick Kelly on May 19th in a 1-1 draw at the City Calling Stadium.
O’Sullivan would go on to notch a league best tally of fifteen goals for Owen Heary’s men but a difficult second half of the season for the “Reds” number ten saw O’Sullivan’s game time reduced and with it questions over his long-term future at Tolka Park.
“The rumors are true, I’m taking a step back from the League of Ireland. I’ve had a good run and I’ve enjoyed the last six-years but the time is right to take a step back.”
In true testament to O’Sullivan’s desire and hunger to break records and score goals the former Republic of Ireland amateur international spoke of his disappointment of falling one goal short of career triple digits.
“It’s a pity I couldn’t have got that 100th League of Ireland goal but it wasn’t to be, I ended up on 99 league & cup goals!”
Going on to talk about what might lie in store next for the man who’s twenty-one league goals in 2014 helped Longford Town on their way to a first ever national league title, O’Sullivan proclaimed that he hasn’t scored his final goal just yet.
“I’m not retiring from the game all together, just from the League of Ireland. The truth is I’m not sure what I’m doing just yet but I’ll be taking a break until after Christmas and we will see where I end up then.”
Balancing a successful yet demanding career in Banking alongside his League of Ireland career over the past six years, O’Sullivan went on to reveal the levels of commitment and sacrifice it takes to compete at such a high level of domestic football.
“I can’t commit to it anymore with work and personal life, people don’t realise the effort, dedication and time it (playing League of Ireland) takes up.”
Despite a golden boot win and enthralling run to the play-offs with Shelbourne last season, it is Longford Town where O’Sullivan is most likely to be remembered post retirement with the former fans favorite notching up an incredible 82 goals in just five seasons, winning the clubs own golden boot award in each of those campaigns, even with injuries limiting the forwards playing time in his final stages with the Midlanders.
Asked for a final conclusion on a breathtaking career that saw O’Sullivan tot up 136 senior appearances, 99 career goals, three First Division golden boots, a First Division title and a Leinster senior cup runners up medal among countless personal awards, including PFAI team of the year inclusions, the Arklow man said this:
“I really enjoyed the last six-years playing League of Ireland and I hit the ground running when I signed from the Leinster Senior League in 2013 under Tony Cousins at Longford. I’ve met some great people, have had the pleasure of playing under some brilliant managers as well as playing with some fantastic players, some of who are now great friends. That been said, the time is now right to take a step back and concentrate on other commitments in my life.”
Pushed for an outstanding memory in a career of outstanding achievements and success over the past six seasons, O’Sullivan unsurprisingly pointed to that historic title win of four-years ago.
“My favorite memory over the six-years has to be winning the league with Longford Town. On a personal level it’s probably the best football I have played in my career, everything just seemed to go right.”
“We had a brilliant squad and I had a fantastic partnership with Gary Shaw up front. I scored 21 league goals and ended the season with the First Division trophy as well as picking up the PFAI First Division player of the year, it’s a year I’ll never forget.
What is your favorite memory of David O’Sullivan in the League of Ireland? For Longford fans perhaps it’s one of his many goals in the Midlands derbies or was it that late goal in Galway that set “De Town” off on their 2014 title march? For “Shels” fans it’s got to be “Sully’s” dramatic hat-trick against the club that considered the striker a legend back in March? Let us know by dropping a tweet to @BetweenStripes or comment on our Facebook page.