Sport Rugby

Sunday 24 September 2017

I've got no problem with Kidney despite Ireland chop – O'Gara

Ronan O'Gara
Ronan O'Gara
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

IRELAND'S record points scorer, Ronan O'Gara (36), has dismissed reports of a rift with former Irish manager Declan Kidney over the controversial manner in which his international career finished.

The former Cork Constitution, Munster, Ireland and Lions star also revealed that his burning ambition now is to coach his beloved Munster.

He further scotched rumours that he may play in France under his new coaching contract with Racing Metro.

"No, I'm finished (playing). That is it. Munster is my team, my one and only team. I don't want to play for anyone else," he said.

"There were offers (to play) from all over the world, but I only wanted to play for Munster."

The father of four insisted that there are no personal difficulties with the former Ireland manager over the manner in which he was dropped during his last Six Nations campaign.

SERVICE

The rugby star's wife, Jessica, revealed in an interview earlier this month that she believed her husband had been "badly treated" after his long and loyal service to Irish rugby.

But the fly-half revealed he has since spoken to Kidney, his former rugby coach in Presentation Brothers College, Cork, and fully respects the decisions he made.

"Deccie does what is best for Deccie. Rog does what is best for Rog," he said. "But there is no problem there. I did feel I was the better (kicking) option for the Scotland game and I made my feelings known (to him). But I don't pick the team."

"Deccie was picking the team that he felt was best for Ireland and I fully respect that. There is no problem there at all," he added.

O'Gara travels to France on July 1 to begin his coaching career and feels it will take five years or more of international coaching experience before he is ready, potentially with Paul O'Connell, to be in contention for the Munster coach's job. "It would be a great honour – it is something I would love to do," he said.

The star said that Munster rugby has been part and parcel of his life for almost two decades and he will continue to proudly wear Munster red as a supporter.

"That's why the games against Harlequins and Clermont-Auvergne were so important. I went out at the height of my game.

"To be honest, it has been a bit of a relief since I retired. The body is still fine, but I was putting myself under a lot of mental pressure to perform.

"I was pushing myself. That is why when you don't win it hurts so much."

Irish Independent

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