As BOD touches down at home, his pals take a sunshine break in Dubai

Laura Butler

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL and many of the Irish rugby squad returned home to their adoring fans -- as others chose to soak up the sun in Dubai.

More than 300 people turned out to greet the Ireland captain and his lads as they touched down at Dublin Airport yesterday, but it wasn't a full pack.

Following their devastating defeat against Wales in the World Cup Quarter-Finals last weekend, most of the squad returned home after a 40- hour journey via Wellington, Auckland, Dubai and London.

But Jerry Flannery, Denis Leamy, Rory Best, Sean O'Brien, Stephen Ferris and Sean Cronin were nowhere to be seen as they decided to stop off in Dubai on their way home.

As his pals sprawled on sun loungers in blistering heat, a gutted BOD told of his hurt over his team's loss.


"Essentially it's a game of rugby I have lost so in the sphere of life in general it's a small thing but in the rugby sphere it will have a big impact.

"We were in a bubble in New Zealand -- you just don't realise the enormity of it back home and how much everyone got behind the team," he said.

Meanwhile, the holiday- makers were spotted enjoying a pint or two at McGettigan's Irish Pub yesterday, at the exclusive five-star Bonnington Hotel in Dubai -- where they are spending a week in the sun.

A source told the Herald that the group have been relaxing on the beach, before a night of well-deserved partying.

"Jerry Flannery and his girlfriend have been here for a while, he watched the semi-finals in McGettigan's pub in the hotel," a source said.

"Yesterday Peter Stringer and Luke Fitzgerald flew out to meet up with the other lads.

"The guys are being well looked after here. Last night they enjoyed a few drinks and some food, loads of Irish fans met the guys at the pub, there was a great atmosphere.

"When they first got here they looked absolutely wrecked. After some of them falling asleep in the sunshine, the players were extremely red looking but headed straight back to the pub," the source added.

This isn't the first time the Dubai hot spot has been filled with top celebs.

Earlier this year the Irish pub hosted its own comedy festival which saw Irish comedians PJ Gallagher, Jason Byrne, Dermot Whelan, Paddy Courtney and Eric Lalor take to the stage.

Coincidentally, also spotted catching some Dubai sun yesterday was model Nadia Forde.

Fresh from denying rumours that she went on a date with The Voice judge Bressie, Nadia has flown out to the luxurious location for a holiday.

An insider told the Herald that the celebrity DJ jetted to the sunny capital yesterday.

"Nadia flew out to Dubai Monday, she's just looking to enjoy herself over there. She has taken some time off for this trip and she has been enjoying some time at the beach," an insider said.