Friday 9 December 2016

Clarke thinks O'Connell will be 'inspirational' when he addresses European team

Published 27/09/2016 | 19:26

Former Ireland captain Paul O'Connell
Former Ireland captain Paul O'Connell

Captain Darren Clarke believes Paul O'Connell will be "seriously inspirational" when he addresses Europe's Ryder Cup team on Tuesday evening.

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O'Connell retired from rugby on medical advice in February after a glittering career which saw him captain Munster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.

The idea of standing shoulder to shoulder is Europe's motto at Hazeltine and is a theme in the song Ireland's Call, which was c ommissioned by the Irish Rugby Football Union for use at international matches.

"Part of my whole thought process for this week is shoulder to shoulder, one team, one unit," Clarke explained. "And with the rugby background that I have as well, it resonated with me. It was something that I pursued through my captaincy.

"There's no finer an example of shoulder to shoulder than Paul O'Connell. He has legendary status both at home and in terms of leading the British Lions, who obviously always play away from home.

"So with us being away from home, he was my choice to come and address the team. I'm very excited to hear what he has to say and the way that he's going to put his thoughts across.

" I haven't actually met Paul yet. But we have spoken at length about what my whole thought process was, about my thinking for the team and Paul is aware of that.

"From everybody that I've spoken to who have heard Paul address teams, he is seriously inspirational. So I feel very fortunate and privileged that he's there to join us."

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson addressed Europe's team ahead of the contest at Gleneagles in 2014.

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