Entertainment Television

Wednesday 12 December 2018

'What? This is an outrage!' - Brian O'Driscoll hears pal Michaela tell the real story behind famous photo

Brian O'Driscoll and Michaela Morley appear on the Late Late Show. Photo: RTE
Brian O'Driscoll and Michaela Morley appear on the Late Late Show. Photo: RTE
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

IRISH rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll and his great friend 13-year-old Michaela Morley appeared on the Late Late Show last night to tell the story behind their now-famous photograph.

O'Driscoll first met the young Mayo girl, who was six at the time, when he arrived into her ward at Temple Street Hospital, fresh from winning the European Cup with Leinster in 2011.

Photographers captured a magical image of Michaela celebrating in delight with O'Driscoll as he held the cup, throwing her arms in the air in pure delight.

But viewers of the Late Late Show last night learned the real reason why she was so happy all those years ago.

Michaela explained: "There's actually a story that Brian knows about. He came in with the cup and he had a little ball with him, and he gave me the ball and I had to throw it in. So I threw it in and I got it in and the reason I was like that (throws her hands in the air) is because I got it in, not because I knew him," she laughs.

"What? This is an outrage," Brian said laughing. "Tell him the truth," he protested.

O'Driscoll with Michaela Morley in 2011 Photo: Shane O'Neill/Fennell Photography
O'Driscoll with Michaela Morley in 2011 Photo: Shane O'Neill/Fennell Photography

Michaela chipped in: "I don't know an awful lot about rugby, let me tell you that much."

Ever since the pair met, there has been a special bond between the pair, Brian said.

"We just hit if off didn't we?" Brian said, turning to Michaela.

"It's hard not to feel the energy and I think you feel better about yourself being in her presence."

"We've seen each other quite a bit over the course of the past seven years in different capacities in the hospital. We try and coincide with hospital visits where she might be getting treatment or getting a check-up, so we see enough of one other, don't we."

He joked: "I'll pull it back, I've shown too much keeness here."

Commenting on their original photo together, he said: "The sense is that it just brings a smile to people's faces."

When the pair first met, Michaela, who has polycystic kidneys, had been travelling from Mayo to Dublin three times a week for kidney dialysis. She told host Ryan Tubridy last night how a kidney transplant has since given her more freedom, since she no longer needs dialysis.

O'Driscoll has been involved with Temple Street for more than 10 years, and has previously explained how he jumps at the chance to visit again.

Last month the pair met up once again at the opening of the new Renal and Neurology Outpatient Units in Temple Street Hospital, Dublin.

Michaela and O'Driscoll highlighted the difference organ donation makes to people's lives. For more information on organ donor cards, see here.

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