Former Dublin GAA star says he gave 40 hours a week to his intercounty career

Cian O’Sullivan retired due to injuries and has joined professional services firm BDO’s private clients division as a tax director

Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan tackling Mark Bradley of Tyrone during the 2018 All-Ireland senior championship final at Croke Park.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Former Dublin GAA football star Cian O’Sullivan estimates that he committed up to 40 hours a week to his intercounty career up to his retirement in June due to persistent injuries.

Mr O’Sullivan joined professional services firm BDO’s private clients division in June as a tax director, where his work includes advising elite sportspeople and entertainers on tax planning.

Speaking to Inside Business, a podcast from The Irish Times, about his new career role and his transition from being a leading GAA player, Mr O’Sullivan said: “When I add it up in my head, probably between 30 and 40 hours [a week were dedicated to GAA], if not more. I’d be leaving the office at five in the evening to get to training and not getting home until 9.30pm or 10pm. And there’s maybe a recovery that you’re trying to nip in on the way, going to Seapoint to grab a quick swim.

“Then you have all the opposition analysis, the strength and conditioning stuff that you do and all the active rehab, which has really taken to the fore in recent years. You might be spending an hour or two a day looking at the opposition and getting ready for the game at the weekend. A heavy, heavy time commitment.”


Having retired from top level GAA, Mr O’Sullivan said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and trying to improve his golf.

Mr O’Sullivan, who won eight All Ireland medals with Dublin in a star-studded career, also backed the Dublin senior footballers to bounce back from the recent disappointment of defeat in the All Ireland semi final to Mayo, having won the Sam Maguire for the past six years.

“I expect once the dust settles over the coming months and the team regroups, that they will be flipping this into an opportunity and they will be back stronger and better next year. I’d be very confident they’ll bounce back.

“If you look at the calibre of players, the secret sauce to our team in the past couple of years was the talent that was there but also the culture that was formed through the group. There’s a very strong base of emerging leaders there that are going to take that mantle over, and I’ve every confidence that they’ll re-steer the ship.”

BDO has carved out a successful niche with its sports advisory unit, with 80 staff in its tax group and with plans to double the size of the practice in the coming years.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times