Peter O'Sullivan's Impressive Sporting Achievements

West Senior Hurling Final program, August 31st, 2008


Cork's outstanding performance in the recent hurling qualifier, when they defied the odds to defeat Galway, has a parallel in one of the outstanding performances of Peter O'Sullivan's career. The occasion was the final twenty minutes of the 1970 Munster final after Liam King was sent off and Peter had replaced the off-form John O'Donoghue in goals. His defiant performance inspired Tipperary to an outstanding display and they would have pulled off a stunning victory had a John Flanagan shot gone into the net rather than barely wide.

Peter, who had been understudy to O'Donoghue for a number of years, took over as goalkeeper and went on to win and All-Ireland in 1971. He gave another fine display on the occasion and won Sports Star of the Week for his performance. His hurling career came to a premature end in 1972 when he was badly injured in a severe work accident.

Peter showed early promise and was on the successful Rosegreen juvenile team of 1957. He progressed to minor level, winning three West hurling titles in 1959, 1960 and 1961. In the last year he was also on the Tipperary minor team that won the Munster final but lost to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final.

He moved up to under-21 level in his final year as minor and won the first of three West medals. The other two were in 1963 and 1964, when the competition progressed to the county for the first time and Cashel were beaten in the final by Roscrea. In the same year Peter was on the county team that won the first under-21 All-Ireland.

In 1963 Peter won a junior hurling All-Ireland when Tipperary defeated London in the final at Thurles. Also on that team were Babs Keating, Mick Roche and Jim Fogarty.

Peter's displays in goals at minor, junior and under-21 led to him being drafted in as sub-goalkeeper for the senior team. He won All-Ireland medals in 1964 and 1965 as well as National League medals in the same years. As a result of the 1965 Home Final victory he travelled with the team to the U.S. to play New York in the final proper. For the journey all the members of the team were outfitted with blazers and slacks, the first occasion that this happened. As well as winning two league medals Peter played in two losing finals, 1966 and 1971.

The Oireachtas was still a major tournament during the sixties and into the seventies and the winners got very attractive medals. Peter won five of these during his career, in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1970 and 1972. He played Railway Cup with Munster in 1972.

Parallel with Peter's successes at the intercounty level were his achievements with Cashel King Cormac's. He has five West senior hurling medals to his credit, won in 1965, 1971, 1975, 1976 and 1980.

Among his other achievements was to hold the position of county junior hurling selector in 1985 when Tipperary won the Munster final but went down to Wexford in the All-Ireland final, which was played at Kilkenny.

Peter was also a referee for about fifteen years. His most important match was the county junior hurling final between Moyne-Templetuohy and Ballina, played at Cashel in November 1990. He never put off a man during his career and continues his association with the job by doing umpire for John Ryan (B)