Gaelic footballer’s unbreakable spirit an inspiration

Inspiring Gaelic footballers unbreakable spirit
Martin O’Sullivan (right) and the 2005 Harlesden Harps side which win the London Intermediate and All Britain championships

A London GAA footballer who lost his left leg after a traffic accident in Ireland is looking forward to watching games as a spectator at McGovern Park in Ruislip.

Harlesden Harps’ Martin O’Sullivan who was central to the club’s 2005 Intermediate Championship and All Britain success (main picture), suffered the life-changing injury in August in County Louth.

His ‘can do’ attitude and optimism since the accident has astounded and delighted his friend, and Harlesden teammate, Gerry Rowley.

“He’s seriously positive about the whole situation. I couldn’t believe it when I went to see him,” said Gerry.

“He’s looking forward to his rehab and in a couple of months time getting a prosthetic leg.

“He’s told me that his next big aim is to get out to Ruislip and see a game in April, May, June time. That’s his big wish.
“He’s mental about the GAA and he was mad about playing. He was still playing at 44 and that tells you what he’s like. To be so positive, so quick.”

Martin was transferred from The Mater Hospital in Dublin to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London, just before Christmas.

“He wanted to get back to London to be beside his family and fiancé for Christmas,” added Gerry.


Martin, who comes from Navan in County Meath and whose mother passed away in April, had moved back to Ireland in July to look after his father.

He was working in Dublin as a shuttering carpenter and was a passenger in a works van when the accident happened.

Friends of Martin’s have set up a Justgiving page to raise £30,000 to help Martin with his recovery and rehabilitation.

More than £6,000 has already been donated, for which O’Sullivan is “very grateful” says Gerry, and he has also been inundated with messages of support.

Those messages have meant as much to him, if not even more, than the money raised. Some came from people he’d played with in the GAA, others from complete strangers.

“The messages he’s received have meant a lot to him,” said Gerry.

A corner forward on the Harlesden team that won the London Intermediate Championship in 2005, Martin had a stormer in the semi-final win over North London Shamrocks, scoring 0-4 all from play.

He contributed a further two points as Harlesden beat Moindearg in the final.

Inspiring Gaelic footballers unbreakable spirit

Martin was then the engine of the Harps team (pictured above) in their dramatic All Britain quarter-final victory over defending champions St Peters at Pairc na hEireann – Martin coming off the bench late on to inspire Harlesden to score two goals and stun the holders.

It was a cameo performance which saw him described as ‘Dick Turpin’ in the match report in the Irish World, headlined ‘Highway Harps steal late victory’.

The report said ‘his [Martin’s] mere presence on the pitch seemed to be catalyst to a much more cohesive Harps display’.

Harlesden went on to beat Dunedin Connollys in the All Britain final to crown what remains the club’s most successful ever year.

To find out more or, should you wish to make a donation, visit:

You might also be interested in this article

London GAA Pushing Ahead

Register now to keep up to date with all the latest:

  • Irish News
  • Sport
  • Community and Entertainment

Sign up to our Newsletter to be in with a chance to win a snazzy iPad and for all the latest...

  • Email updates
  • Regular features
  • Competitions and give aways