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Sean O'Brien Granted Special Permission From Leinster To Return To Boyhood Club

Sean O'Brien Granted Special Permission From Leinster To Return To Boyhood Club
By Joshua Bell Curran Updated
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Leinster legend Seán O'Brien, more affectionately known as the Tullow Tank, is heading back to Carlow to don the maroon and white of his boyhood club Tullow RFC in Division 1A of the Leinster League.

The former Leinster and Ireland back row made attempts to return to Tullow following his retirement from professional rugby at the end of the 21/22 season, but his hopes were spoiled when the Leinster branch understandably denied his application to do so citing player safety regulations.

However, this won't be his first foray into domestic rugby since his retirement from the pro-ranks of London Irish and the decision from the Leinster Branch - O'Brien has been playing club rugby with Naas RFC in Division 1B of the AIL.

Watch: Seán O'Brien Makes Long Awaited AIL Debut For Naas

15 October 2022; Seán O'Brien of Naas during the Energia All-Ireland League Division 1B match between Old Belvedere and Naas RFC at Old Belvedere RFC in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile


However, despite expectations that the Leinster Branch would require Seán O'Brien to be two years out of professional rugby before he could rejoin Tullow, a special dispensation for one of the province's great servants means O'Brien will be allowed rejoin Tullow for the upcoming season.

Despite earning an astonishing 56 Ireland caps and 126 Leinster caps as well as the highest accolades in rugby, O'Brien who only retired from professional rugby in 2022 will be lining out for a junior club that aren't even in the national league.


While the affair will undoubtedly be a great spectacle for the people of Tullow and a great welcome home to one of the town's most famous sons, there is still a significant gap in standards between the AIL and provincial leagues and we certainly don't envy the amateurs who'll have to meet the might of the Tullow Tank head on.

31 March 2018; Sean O'Brien speaks to the Tullow players after the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup Round 3 match between Gorey and Tullow at Gorey RFC in Wexford. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

While Seán O'Brien is departing Naas for Tullow, he will stay on in his coaching role with the Leinster rugby senior team. O'Brien was recruited to Leo Cullen's staff last season as their contact skills coach, with O'Brien and co driving Leinster to another Champions Cup Final.

Seán O'Brien will be hoping that the same woes don't hit Tullow as they did Leinster with the O'Brien and the club looking to retain their Provincial's Town Cup and fulfil a boyhood dream.

SEE ALSO: Irish Ref Under Fire After Hugely Controversial Decision During Springboks Vs Argentina

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