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Thursday 23 November 2017

Busy father Donncha O’Callaghan: “You’d do anything for your kids”

24 February 2013; Donncha O'Callaghan, Ireland, rects as he looks on late in the game after being substituted. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
24 February 2013; Donncha O'Callaghan, Ireland, rects as he looks on late in the game after being substituted. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Donncha O'Callaghan
Donnacha O'Callaghan and his wife Jenny
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Irish rugby star Donncha O’Callaghan has revealed that that his charity work in the Syrian camps had a profound impact on him – not least because of his role as a father of three.

“I met a mother who had no concern for her wellbeing, only for her child that she wanted me to help. But you’d do anything for your kids,” he told Miriam O’Callaghan this morning.

Sharing his experience in the war-torn country on RTE Radio 1, the 34-year-old Munster lock added that the situation in Syria “is not getting any better”.

“Even in the last week, 10 children are dying of polio and that’s something that can be easily prevented. It’s frightening to think that there are children in modern life that are dying from this disease,” he said. 

The UNICEF Irish Ambassador Donncha and his wife Jenny have recently added to their growing brood with baby girl, Robin.  They also have two other young daughters – Anna and Sophie.

“I suppose it just makes you appreciate everything good in life.  Having a little baby in the house is good excitement,” said the Irish star, who admitted to be being too busy with training to be a very ‘hands on’ dad.

“We’re away an awful lot and, to be fair, Jenny does a lot of the hard work and the grim stuff.  I’m the fella that’s grabs the baby as we’re walking into a place so that people see me,” he joked. 

Donncha is currently training with his fellow teammates to be in top shape in the midst of a “seesaw” season. He said that being away from his family so often is part of “certain sacrifices we make for the game”.

“You love togging out for your country and since I was a boy that’s the only thing I wanted to do. And when your family fully support you and back you – that gives you a bit of a lift,” he said.

Describing sport as ‘ageist’, Donncha said that he had no plans to retire from the game any time soon and would like to remain “a one club man” as “wearing an Irish or a Munster shirt means more to me than just the salary.”

He also thanked the Irish nation for their generosity in their donations towards helping the Syrian crisis, maintaining that this giving nature is “something in our DNA”

“We’ve suffered before as a country, we know what it feels like to go through famines and wars.  We’ve been through tough times like these and you don’t want to see anyone in those situations,” he said.

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