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Michael O'Doherty: I wonder how often BOD drank Coca Cola in pro-rugby career?


Brian O'Driscoll.

Brian O'Driscoll.

Trinity College Dublin.

Trinity College Dublin.


Brian O'Driscoll.

Two months ago, I pondered on the post-rugby life of Brian O'Driscoll, following the news that he had invested €60k in a whiskey firm.

I suggested that, as a world-renowned sportsman, he could perhaps have chosen something more in tune with his reputation as a model of fitness.

Maybe Brian could so something a bit more worthy, and befitting of his profile and intelligence, such as following Johnny Sexton into the world of business?

Astonishingly, Brian has gone in the opposite direction, having been unveiled as a brand ambassador for Coca Cola at next year's Rugby World Cup.

Announcing the partnership, Brian said the following: "As a former professional sportsman, I'm a passionate believer in the importance of leading an active, healthy lifestyle and understanding the benefits of physical activity. Today's session was a great way to kick start the partnership between Coca-Cola and Rugby World Cup."

OK, let's just reflect on that statement for a moment.

Yes, rugby is a fantastic way to stay fit, and all the top players are living examples of the benefits of discipline and care in what they eat and drink.

But did it not occur to Brian, at any stage, that Coca Cola is not a company associated with a "healthy lifestyle"?

In fact, it is a company that is increasingly associated with the exact opposite. Every time you read about someone being morbidly obese, you can be sure than sugary soft drinks are part of their daily regime.

Every time someone feels proud at having shaken off excess weight, invariably part of their regime involved giving up soft drinks such as Coca Cola.

One 500ml bottle of Coke has more than the entire daily recommended intake of sugar, so it's easy to see why Coca Cola would want to have their name associated with Brian O'Driscoll, and something as healthy as the Rugby World Cup.

And it's easy to see why the Rugby World Cup would want to be associated with Coca Cola. Money.

For Brian, life post-rugby is a bit of punditry, the inevitable ghost-written memoir, a stake in a whiskey company, and now a few quid from one of the companies most responsible for the worldwide obesity epidemic.

There's nothing wrong with providing for you and your family's future, and no-one expects Brian to be able to live off the earnings he made during his professional career for an indefinite period.

It's just a shame he seems willing to compromise what he stood for as a professional athlete, to do so.


JobBridge isn't neuroscience ... well, unless you're starting work at Trinity

The JobBridge scheme has come in for much criticism.

Many point out that it amounts to little more than slave labour, with companies employing people for €50 a week and social welfare topping up the salary.

There is a valid argument to be made, of course, that many employers look for job experience and this service provides employees with that experience.

But last week saw perhaps the most absurd use of the system yet, as Trinity College Dublin searched for a Neuroscience Research Assistant on the JobBridge website.

Working in the Biomedical Studies Department, the successful applicant will "receive training in the following: in vitro and in vivo methodologies necessary to facilitate and undertake neuroscience research, including tissue processing, immunochemistry, cell culture and molecular biology".

Of course, such complex work is not open to anyone, and the minimum requirement is to have a third level qualification in neuroscience or similar.

And funnily enough, TCD run their own neuroscience degree, and on its syllabus they state that "the preferred career path of our students is to conduct PhD research".

Is it just me, or are the people in Trinity missing a rather glaring double standard in advertising this post?

On the one hand, their degree course puffs up its excellence, its worldwide recognition, and how useful it is to gain employment; while on the other hand, they are tacitly admitting that the best job they can offer graduates is the dole, plus €50 a week?

And how, exactly, is someone supposed to work on a PhD if they also have a 35-hour-a-week job, which pays slave labour rates, to go to?


Hang on, so Jonathan is still an actor?

* Jonathan Rhys Meyers is in the headlines again and, as usual, it's got nothing to do with his artistic oeuvre.

Because Jonathan, whose only recent claims to fame have been as a hell-raiser, air-rager and star of a ridiculous ad for men's aftershave, is the subject of a remarkable news this week. It's emerged that "the 37-year-old actor has got engaged to his girlfriend of less than a year, Mara Lane". This comes as a huge shock. I mean, can you believe it, some people still refer to Jonathan as an actor?

* A YEAR ago, despite his insufferable smugness, I congratulated Mark Little on the success of his web venture Storyful, which he had just sold for €18m. And so endeth the story, I believed.

This week, however, Little was back in the news, as he is stepping down as the company's CEO to become the 'Head of Editorial Innovation'. He's declared himself thrilled to be "building the most innovative company on a rapidly changing media landscape," and is hoping to "shape the company's thought-leadership in the news industry."

So to his existing list of traits Mark has now added the spouting of self-congratulatory, mid-Atlantic, corporate psycho-babble. I thought he couldn't be more annoying. I was wrong.