PRAISED by President Barack Obama, feted across the world following Ireland's Six Nation's success and cheered to the rafters by delirious fans on his return to Dublin – Brian O'Driscoll is having one hell of a St Patrick's weekend.
Should he or his team-mates appear anywhere near Dublin's parade today, the country may combust with unbridled joy.
Yesterday, when O'Driscoll (35) and the rest of Ireland's conquering heroes arrived in Dublin Airport with the Six Nations trophy, Terminal 2 came to a standstill.
The atmosphere had been building for well over an hour until it reached the stage when cheers greeted everyone who walked through the arrivals gate.
By the time captain Paul O'Connell emerged carrying the silverware, the new terminal nearly took off.
The flight had been delayed following Saturday's 22-20 triumph over France in Paris, but it was worth the wait.
Irish manager Joe Schmidt said that for O'Driscoll it was a fairytale finish after 15 years in the green jersey.
"Fairytales do happen. Sometimes fairytales happen because you get a bit lucky, but I think the harder he (O'Driscoll) worked, the luckier he got," said Schmidt.
What words did he have for BOD afterwards? "I said 'thanks mate' – that's as special as it gets probably," he said.
The game against France was the last time O'Driscoll will don the Irish jersey. He took to Twitter and said: "Thanks for all the messages of support. Un-real feeling."
Paul O'Connell added: "It's great to be back with the trophy. There was about five or 10 minutes there towards the end of the game where I didn't think we'd be coming back with it.
"I didn't think we'd have waited as long after 2009 (when Ireland won the Grand Slam). I thought we would have kicked on. It's a great feeling and an incredible reception here from the supporters today as well. It's brilliant."
The Munster star had nothing to drink on Saturday night, though "a few of the younger boys did".
"I'll hopefully have a few today. My wife and kid are coming up to Dublin so we're looking forward to celebrating with them," O'Connell said.
Last night he and and the rest of the team headed to the Four Seasons for a private party.
Many great players have retired in recent years, but none in the manner of O'Driscoll.
O'Connell added: "Not many of them would have been able to write a script like this, to finish like this, to finish winning away in Paris and winning a championship. They're both quite rare things to happen, so it's a brilliant way for him to finish.
"Brian is very controlled in everything he does. I think he had a few moments where Joe spoke about him in the pre-match meeting and things like that, but I think he's fairly at ease with the decision."
Hooker Rory Best admitted the final moments seemed to take for ever.
"The last 90 seconds felt like 40 minutes. I don't know what it was like for people watching at home, but sitting on the bench it was incredibly nerve-racking. They had to dig deep and it was great to get the win," he said.
And the celebrations? "I think we'll have the maximum maybe two beers."
Gordon D'Arcy arrived back beardless, but O'Connell insisted he had not wielded the clippers. "I was there beside it but I didn't get involved. I let them at it. I think he's going to grow it back. I think he was happy enough with it," he said.
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