Saturday 19 August 2017

Whiskered O'Connell cat-alyst for Oz victory

DONNCHA O'CALLAGHAN is known for his capacity to mix endeavour on the pitch with a light-hearted approach off it, and in his autobiography 'Joking Apart', launched this week, he reveals how Ireland got the balance right before their seminal World Cup victory over Australia.

O'Callaghan outlines how Paul O'Connell was fined in the week of the match and was forced to draw a cat's nose and whiskers on his face and leave it there for 24 hours.

"In the middle of this we had our forwards' meeting," recalled O'Callaghan. "Paulie spoke for 20 minutes ... sitting there looking like something out of a pantomime with a tough audience eating out of the palm of his hand, setting the tone for one of the biggest encounters of our careers. Only O'Connell could have pulled it off."

O'Callaghan's life story is an engrossing one, and he also features in another recent rugby release, Charlie Mulqueen's 'Brothers in Sport: Rugby' which looks at the fraternal contributions of famous Irish rugby families such as the O'Callaghan's, Wallaces, Reddans and Easterbys. Good reading all around.

Irish Independent

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