BOD was dropped before but Lion will claw way back – Cullen
BRIAN O'Driscoll was dropped before – and will bounce back stronger after his Lions disappointment in Australia, according to his Leinster colleague Leo Cullen.
The 34-year-old had a similar taste of rejection at the very beginning of his rugby career while a pupil at Blackrock College.
Current Leinster captain Leo Cullen (35), who is visiting Goal projects in Ethiopia with team-mate Ian Madigan, was also a pupil of the Dublin secondary school at the time.
He told the Irish Independent that Lions veteran O'Driscoll was not always the number one choice – although he thought the decision to leave him out of the crucial final Lions Test was "crazy".
Back when BOD played No 10 as a 17-year-old, he was left off the team sheet of the 1996 Blackrock Senior Cup side that beat Newbridge College in the final.
"I was a year ahead of Brian in school, but we played together in 1996," Cullen said.
"He (O'Driscoll) played a couple of games in the cup campaign in 1996 that I was involved in. Even though he wasn't in the final, he did get a couple of games during the season."
But despite the disappointment of missing the final, BOD went on to gain three caps for the Irish schools team later that year.
Within just three years of being excluded from the 1996 Senior Cup-winning team, O'Driscoll made his debut on the senior Irish squad.
On the decision to drop him from tomorrow's clash in Sydney, Cullen said: "It seems crazy. I would've assumed Brian would've taken over the captaincy for the final Test."
Meanwhile, Madigan said it was an eye-opener to visit a leather factory staffed by young people who previously survived on the streets.
He told how they met young people who had lived on the streets but are now in full-time employment in an Addis Ababa factory called Pittards making high-end leather products.
Around 18 of the workers had previously run the gauntlet of Ethiopia's streets before entering GOAL's ChildSPACE programme.
"They survived by doing menial jobs like washing dishes, shining shoes and collecting scrap metal, and regularly getting exploited and ripped off for their troubles," he said.
It is estimated 60,000 children scrimp for a living on the streets of the capital city.
"Thanks to regular and better-paid work, they can afford a safe place to live and have plenty of food to eat," said Madigan.
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