IT'S the news that every Leinster and Irish rugby fan was hoping for: Brian O'Driscoll will play for one more year.
The country's most decorated player has signed a contract that will see him lineout for province and country until June 2014.
The new father has already played more than 300 times in the blue of Leinster and the green of Ireland, scoring more than 100 tries.
O'Driscoll (34) confirmed today that after discussing his options with his wife Amy Huberman and family he will commit to another 12 months.
"The support my family and the Irish and Leinster fans have shown me over the past few months and, indeed, years has been phenomenal, and I am now very much looking forward to one more year playing with Ireland and Leinster."
The centre had always indicated he would leave his decision on retirement until after The British & Irish Lions tour to Australia this summer.
His announcement ahead of tomorrow night's Amlin Cup Challenge final against Stade Francais is a massive boost for Leinster. The squad hope to achieve a double of cup wins in the RDS over the coming weeks, with the Rabo Pro 12 final against Ulster scheduled for May 25.
The news was also being hailed as a major coup for Joe Schmidt, who will resign as Leinster coach to take up the Irish job after the two finals. "It's great that Brian has agreed to continue playing. He's an inspirational player, not only on the pitch, but also on the training ground," Schmidt said.
Meanwhile, Leinster fans are scrapping for tickets for the Amlin Challenge Cup final, even though it is the lesser of this weekend's games.
A home tie for the Blues tomorrow night means there is unprecedented interest in the game, but the RDS venue means seats are at a premium.
Tickets for the Leinster game are trading hands online for up to €100 each, whereas punters can get two seats for Saturday's Heineken Cup final between Clermont Auvergne and Toulon for the same price.
Win tickets for the Amlin Cup Final: Page 64